The Nightingales


The Nightingales Hysterics 2xLP reissue

An expanded reissue of the second album by these John Peel favorites, and an unknown quantity to these ears. I feel like I’m fairly literate in British post-punk, but somehow I have not heard any of the NIGHTINGALES’ albums. I acquainted myself with their first record Pigs on Purpose before heading into Hysterics, and between both I found a distinctive sound. The drums dominate their songs, never playing a straight beat but instead creating an unsettling base of rollicking toms and accenting snips of hi-hat for the guitar and bass to sway seasick upon. The rhythmic unease is offset by what I hear as a distinctively English folk presence being experimented with on this album. A violin sidles in mystically on the second track, and on the third, the group somehow merges a funky break with banjo plucking. Lead singer Robert Lloyd has a huge sonorous voice, confident in its everyman timbre. I’d say this is jangly and melodic enough for a fan of the MONOCHROME SET, JOSEF K, or ORANGE JUICE, but with enough upside-down experimental quirk for you to listen to next to DOG FACED HERMANS, the RAINCOATS, or GLAXO BABIES.

The Nightingales Pigs on Purpose 2xLP reissue

Call of the Void follows up their 2019 PREFECTS vinyl anthology with this deluxe reissue of the 1982 debut LP from the NIGHTINGALES, who were essentially a revamped PREFECTS with a more expansive creative outlook. Pigs on Purpose landed in somewhat of a UK post-punk liminal state, right in between the scratchy eccentricity of the late ’70s/early ’80s SWELL MAPS/FALL axis and the disjointed, abrasive side of the C86 scene that was a few years around the corner (think BIG FLAME and all those Ron Johnson bands), after which the NIGHTINGALES would spend the rest of the ’80s charting a MEKONS-esque path away from wiry art-punk and toward an unironic embrace of country and western music—maybe that’s why Pigs on Purpose is rarely mentioned in the same breath as … In “Jane From Occupied Europe” or Hex Enduction Hour or any number of similar and now-canonized LPs from the same general time and place, but whatever the reason, it’s unfortunate. SUBWAY SECT/ALTERNATIVE TV-style first wave punk gets bent into new jumbled shapes on “Blood for Dirt” and “One Mistake,” vocalist Robert Lloyd comes off like a well-adjusted version of Mark E. Smith narrating over the sparse but frenetic FALL-like rhythms of “Start From Scratch” and “The Hedonists Sigh,” and “Blisters” and “The Crunch” work up a hyper-strum jangle that all but anticipates the WEDDING PRESENT; it’s like a crash course in the UK underground’s trajectory throughout the Thatcher years. And even better, the original LP is appended this time around by a second disc’s worth of demos and tracks from the group’s early singles on Rough Trade and Cherry Red, which would be worth the price of admission on their own—double your pleasure!