Taking the listener in a melodic hug whilst opening windows and spotlights upon lives, intimate and more politically social, the new album from Nasher is nothing less than captivation. 432-1: Open The Vein shares memories and reflections like the sun provides warmth and clarity through songs as compelling in their writing as in the melodies and harmonies bringing them to life. It is blessed with truly bewitching and memorable moments within a body which from start to finish has ears hungry for more as the imagination weaves away.
Nasher is Brian Nash, the guitarist for Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Before his part in their success, he had already linked up with drummer Peter Gill and vocalist Holly Johnson in Sons and Egypt, forming the outfit with the duo after playing in several other bands with varying styles. Sons and Egypt came to an end in 1980 when his colleagues left to join a new band in the shape of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. The departure of Gerard O’Toole from that band two years later saw Nash link up with his former band mates again, the band going on to have international triumphs of course with the likes of Relax and Two Tribes. After their demise in 1987 Nash collaborated with singer Grant Boult as Low and later again in Dr. Jolly’s Salvation Circus. Two solo albums in Ripe and Le Grande Fromage appeared in 1999 and 2002 respectively, Nash also creating his own Internet-based label, Babylon Pink, around that time upon which 432-1: Open The Vein now appears.
It opens up with Salt in Our Veins and the sound of water falling and lapping from presumably the Mersey of his hometown as its specific noises raise their heads. From within their evocative textures, Nash’s acoustic guitar strokes the senses, his following vocals similarly coaxing attention with their harmonic warmth. The emotional suggestion and plaintive insight of his words are just as magnetic, Nash seemingly sharing light on his move to the capitol and the retaining by Liverpool of his heart. The wonderful song is a sign of things to come, of the drama lining every note and syllable, of the infectiousness fuelling every ballad and livelier engagement with ears and thoughts.
The fine start continues through the folkish stroll of Still Can’t Find the One, a song embracing eighties pop hues more akin to the likes of Blancmange and Heaven 17 than his Frankie exploits, and the observational melancholic theatre of I Spy. Not for the last time upon the album, there is something of XTC to the songwriting or more the Colin Moulding side of the band, the song a pastoral reflection in sound and insight in word of modern life. Both tracks are instinctive magnetism, warm yet shadowy caresses matched in strength and beguilement by the sunny disposition and emotional sentiment of Whole.
Through the harmonic questioning of one of the bitter protagonists of today in Katies and the boisterous rock ‘n’ roll of Prostitutes and Cocaine, the album only adds to its riveting and skilled pleasuring of ears while Just Sounds Like Noise engagingly repeats words that people of a certain age share about Saturday afternoon and evening TV. It was better in our day is a staple claim of every generation and forever will be though not always with the charm given it by Nash.
The mellow hazed Pebbles to Dust seduces next; the increasingly bewitching song almost somnambulistic in gait and air as it melancholically smooches with the senses. Its darkly lit atmosphere flows into the equally sombre glide of Where Will the Kids Live? through the lively antics of youth. The track is gorgeous, once more drama seeping into every melodic sparkle and haunted glaze of sound and emotive shadow.
Both Nothing Homes and XO simply captivate; melodies and harmonic sighs to the fore with the second of the two slipping into an animated skip for its pop catchy incitement of feet and emotions. With a whiff of Pete Wylie to its contagious enterprise, the track has the listener physically and emotionally bouncing before Yesterday’s News closes things up with its Jam lit croon. More of a grower compare to the instant persuasion of earlier tracks, it emerges as a just as momentous and stirring proposition within 432-1: Open The Vein, an album which leaves the heart even more lustfully in love with music, especially if you hang on for its hidden Bowie inspired finale.
432-1: Open The Vein is out now through Babylon Pink Recordings.
Pete RingMaster 05/07/2017
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