Irrelevant Troubadour

Nurse With Wound, Rock ‘N’ Roll Station
February 12, 2011, 1:40 am
Filed under: music

Everybody loves the TV Tropes Album Exchange Club, right?  And everybody also loves Nurse With Wound’s Rock ‘N’ Roll Station, so this is bound to be the most popular post on this site.

This has to be the least rock ‘n’ roll album ever to have the phrase “rock ‘n’ roll” in the title. I mean, the only rock-related thing I could hear here was a short sample of surf guitar at two minutes into “Two Golden Microphones”. Where’s the pedal-to-the-metal, balls-to-the-wall R&R action I’ve come to expect from those masters of down ‘n’ dirty blues and boogie-woogie rawk Nurse With Wound?

Speaking seriously, this album seems to me to be a deconstruction of electronic dance music. It’s built around urgent, pounding, repetitive beats, but they’re beats that have been so simplified as to no longer be at all danceable. These rhythms wind in and out of each other, and sound less like music than some sort of ritual drumming or the workings of dark industrial machinery. Yet in some cases this experimentation fails, such as on “The Self-Sufficent Sexual Shoe”, which sounds less like a deconstruction of dance music and more like a failed attempt at it.

This isn’t to say that this is purely a rhythm album; there are lots of interesting things going to top of the beats. My favorites would be the deadpan yet absurd narration and chopped-up crowd noises in the title track and the ticking, whirring, and occasionally didgeridoo-ing insanity that is “Two Golden Microphones”. Also worth mentioning are “Finsbury Park, May 8th, 1:35 PM (I’ll See You In Another World)”, which is as close as this album comes to pure noise, and “R+B Through Collis Browne” which sounds like a less forceful version of what was going in “industrial” music (a genre Nurse With Wound arguably pioneered) at the time.

This album is unique and fabulously intelligent; having said that, I highly doubt that I am going to listen to it again after this review is up. It’s an experimental album in the purest sense of the world. It would be more apt for me to say that I was fascinated by it than to say that I enjoyed it. I suppose this music just arrests different parts of my mind than I usually desire to stimulate with music.

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