earthly delights archive


Nocturnal Emissions
Songs of Love and Revolution
Track listing

Disc of the Week: (7/24/99)

This was a "cusp" record for Nocturnal Emissions, marking the end of a period of more "conventional" songwriting and instrument use. The first couple of NE albums (to be reviewed here later) were brooding, bleak affairs that called to mind a more sedate version of SPK (not surprising, given that at least one SPK member was involved with the band during that time). Then came a few albums that were firmly song-dominated. Love and Revolution was the last of the bunch, and was the most explicitly "message"-oriented and political. This is a tough record to peg, so maybe trying is besides the point. Nigel Ayers is a pretty smart egg -- check out his Network News for some real quasi-Fortean fun -- so what comes off the disc seems at first glance incredibly doctrinaire and stodgy. "Cops, lawyers and journalists [hey...!] are lying dead all around. There's no one left to judge us. Their iron facade has rusted!" he sings on Power of Love (Bring Power to its Knees), and you get the impression that he's pitching the whole thing so that the people who will take it straight will take it straight and the people who will consider it a tongue-in-cheek piss-take will take it as exactly that. Which is either massively clever or an incredibly pathetic dodge -- I'm still not entirely sure about that. But one thing I do know: put aside the politics, however middle- or no-brow they may be, and what you have here is one extremely neat piece of no-budget sonic rabblerousing. The equipment used on the record is incredibly primitive -- the ramshackle sound makes it all the more lovable, actually -- but everything's used with care and intelligence, and each piece is made to matter. Ayers has said something to the effect that a toy instrument shoved through a massive PA can get better results than a $2,000 synth any day. I guess it all depends on who's doing the shoving, right?


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