The Nightingales in Sheffield
The Greystones, Sheffield
Thursday 30th April 2020, £14.30
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Perish The Thought
Tiny Global Productions
It's unusual for an act to hit its peak after four decades. Yet here it is.
Commercial Suicide Man, their 7 Vic Godard collaboration, was released as the group entered the studio to record their ninth full-length album. While the single sold out almost immediately, got picked as BBC 6's Single of the Week, and received more airplay than any Nightingales record to date, it won't have prepared fans for the most ambitious album in the band's catalogue.
The band's climb to become Britain's most dazzling live band - shows are played at full energy without the breaks lesser combos need to breathe, drink or chatter was unexpected, and public awakening to their humour, skill and brilliance demands revision of post-punk history. The Nightingales emerge as the industrious ant to their peers' workshy grasshopper personae, appearing victoriously at the finish line to puzzled realisations that they'd ever even been in the race.
The Nightingales have notoriously had a new label for each new album, a fact which might reasonably call for consumer caution, but they are part of nothing resembling a 'scene', they speak their own musical language, and while they bust out slogans about being slightly superior to others of their ilk . . . the fact is, they have no ilk. One label head proudly claims his rationale for the release of one of their albums as nothing less than a public service.
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