Nasher – 432-1: Open The Vein

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.

https://www.facebook.com/Nasher-105270312871476/

Pete RingMaster 05/07/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

James Cook – Reverse Engineering (Vol. One)

JC

2013 is a busy year for singer/songwriter/producer /video artist James Cook, who follows up his impressive and successful debut album Arts & Sciences of 2012 with two full length releases this year. Towards the end of the year there is the release of his second solo album Ausland, but before that the ex-Nemo frontman and songwriter is treating us to Reverse Engineering (Vol. One), a seven track album of cover songs which is one big treat. Consisting of songs of artists from the late seventies and early eighties who ignited his passions and one suggests aspirations musically, the album is a delicious re-invention of classics ignited once again with James Cook imagination.

Reverse Engineering scientifically refers to finding advanced technology that is beyond understanding and taking it apart, then from the discovery of how it works creating a new version from the knowledge. This can certainly be applied to the songs upon the album, Cook, in the words of a room about the release, ‘creating an ‘alien twin’ of the original version by dissecting and redesigning the original.’ Bringing in expressive and skilled musicians (the Dollhouse band) to add their charm and passion to the songs, including once more violinist/string arranger Anne Marie Kirby who he worked with on not only Arts & Sciences but also the baroque pop curio The Dollhouse of 2009, Cook has given a new breath and energy to songs upon the release which emerge as a vibrant and thrilling companion to the originals.

The album opens with David Bowie classic Ashes To Ashes and instantly opens up a new expanse of thought towards the song, the a0326705245_2rich emotive tones of violin from Kirby and Ed Bruggeme, viola from Charlie Stock, and the seductive shadows from cellist Terezie Kovalova, wrapping the ear in a rapturous embrace which ignites open feelings. The string quartet is arranged by Kirby who consistently over previous releases with her imaginative arrangements has impressed and pushed songs into deeper impacting textures and evocative visions. As Cook begins the lyrical passage of the song, a new breath seduces the senses from within, the dramatic air and passional strength of the song enveloping with seductive and riveting grandeur but it is a majesty which has no sense of indulgence or self-importance. It is a wonderful version which stands boldly by the side of the original for these ears whilst as mentioned opening up a new shadow and life within the song.

The following track is The Teardrop Explodes song Treason and with its successor Making Plans For Nigel, steals the show on the album. With the guitar of Cook and a wonderfully resonating and throaty bass call from Smity immediately capturing full attention, the track strolls with a sure swagger through to the passions. As with the first and subsequent songs, Cook does not attempt in any way to emulate or cheat off of the delivery of the notable frontmen who bred the originals vocals, but infuses them with his own unique and compelling easy on the ear tones. As the strings of Kirby and Kovalova add their again irresistible presence, the track submerges the emotions in an understated but full wash of melodic beauty with the firm and punchy drums of Tom Marsh providing an equally addictive framework. With the elegance of the strings bringing their suasion through an air of dance and mischief, the track is a waltz come stomp which sparks only the purest adoration.

XTC is probably the first band to truly ignite a full lust of passion towards their sounds for us here but Making Plans For Nigel was the only song which wore out its welcome on the heart though from one of the greatest British bands. Cook has managed to bring the track back to its original glory and surpass it with passion and poetic musical imagination. The same line-up as on the previous track takes the Colin Moulding penned song and turns it into an emotive stroll along the banks of adventure and warm playfulness. They take the simple repetition across the song which helped lose the original version its appeal and treat it to an unpredictable yet familiar energy and sense of pride which itself steps forward to outweigh that of its seed.

Through Hiroshima Mon Amour, a track from the original John Foxx fronted Ultravox! and now given a mesmeric and melodic sunset of a passional sound, and The Go Between’s Bachelor Kisses where vocally and musically there is an incandescent to its invitation which inspires only further submission, the album continues to captivate and thrill. Admittedly as superbly crafted and interpreted as they are they do not match the opening trio of songs but that is just down to the beauty and ingenuity of those earlier gems. Our Lips Are Sealed though does reach up and pull itself up to those heady heights, the Go-Go’s song, also recorded by Fun Boy Three and written by Jane Wiedlin and Terry Hall from the two bands, carving out its own irrepressible niche upon the album with the cello and bass of Kovalova and Cook respectively, offering a deep captivating presence to the wonderfully refreshing and bracing encounter. There is a Walker Brothers feel to the song which only enhances the tonic it brings to ear and soul with each dance within its breath-taking arms.

Completed by an imaginative take on the Kraftwerk track Neon Lights, the song another with the full string quartet painting a unique and inspiring emotive canvas for Cook to lay his narrative, Reverse Engineering (Vol. One) is a passion capturing piece of colour drenched imagination and interpretation, and one hopes is the first of more such projects from the artists as suggested by the title. Though it could be looked at as an appetiser or piece of creativity to bide time before Cook’s next solo album, the masterful treat shows itself as a valid album in its own right even if its appearance comes as a staggered invitation. Released as a free download one song at a time a monthly leading up to Ausland, and with two songs already available, it is an album all should go to without hesitation.

To get the album go to http://jamescook.bandcamp.com/

http://www.jamescookmusic.com

9/10

RingMaster 15/05/2013

 

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