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  Insult to Injury  
  the Nightingales  
  Klangbad Records  
Release Date:
Reviewed by:
  Indoor Miner  

Now I'm not saying this is my favourite ever Nightingales LP or anything like that. After all, the competition is as stiff as...well I'm sure you can come up with your own smutty example. However, although you can virtually guarantee that a Nightingales album is going to sound even better in a few years than it does at the time, Insult to Injury (produced by Faust's Hans-Joachim Irmler) really is shaping up nicely. I wouldn't go as far as saying that everything has grabbed me as yet. And I'm not convinced that I Am Grimaldi is the best choice for an opening number. But there really are some 'gales classics in the making, with the two seven minute tracks, Double Whammy Bar and Big Bones stealing the honours at the moment.

Double Whammy Bar finds the band sounding almost relaxed with a lovely chiming guitar riff and - probably for the first time ever on a Nightingales record a string arrangement! Big Bones, meanwhile, finds the band at their most Beefheartian, with Robert Lloyd growling Captain-style over some relentless grinding riffing and suitably atonal guitar work. And, like Double Whammy Bar, it's fabulous.

I'm also rather fond of Little Lambs, complete with stylophone and a James Last mention, and Crap Lech, which mixes an almost typical Nightingales verse with a chorus that's somewhat ripped off Iggy's Easy Rider. Other highlights include Old Fruit, which comes on like some slightly off-kilter T.Rex, whilst The Kiss Of Life is an acoustic number with Lloyd singing "head in the clouds but heart in the basement" over some Nick Drake-like fingerpicking. I'm generally less keen on the Nightingales flirtations with country & western, so I would hardly have been pleading with them to include two such numbers - Kirklees Men and Former Florist To The Queen, on one album. Still, the latter, where Lloyd succinctly points out that "Showing off and dumbing down is the order of the day", is well worth a listen. Elsewhere there is Brownhills United Tattooed Southpaw (another number with a Beefheart feel) and Down With The Blue Lobsters, which finds Lloyd in talking mode before the extended refrain heads straight into the quickfire Watch Your Posture, where rockabilly and glam meet head-on, ending the album in an enjoyable, if almost throwaway, fashion.

Of course, this being The Nightingales, the line-up has already changed since this album was recorded almost a year ago. Sadly, one of those to go was "teen guitar sensation", Matt Wood apparently to further his education! so it seems only right to end this review by giving him a quick mention because his playing lights up this album. He'll be missed.

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    EP: What's Not To Love?


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