Nutronstars are nuts; and they are fantastic for it. The CD cover looks like it was made in arts-ed class after a heavy night on alco-pop’s. This carries over to the recording which states that is was done in a studio but sounds more like it was recorded in a galvanised shed covered in rice krispies giving it some ‘snap, crackle and pop’ in the background.
But as I said this is a bonus for the band (Ian Octa Simpson drums, percussion and samples, Kandy Hoffman keyboard, bass and vocals, Julien Lees violin, trumpet and dulcimer and arrangements by Tarbuck) as it is a happy meeting of sound and style. Obvious comparisons would be Super Furry Animals, Supergrass and that sort of funky chopper riding retro band. But I would say they draw more from a combination of Marc Bolan’s T-Rex, supported by the Small Faces with some Ziggy thrown in for good measure and the Banana Splits providing transport.
They are fun without being empty and their songs are simple without being simplistic. They make good use of repetitive lyrics, chords and drum loops, which ratchets up the tension of the songs and gets you mentally, if not physically, pogoing round the room.
There are 14 tracks on this album and it comes in at just under half an hour, with the longest song ‘Tarantula’ being an epic opus of 3mins 43secs, and on a few of the tracks it would take longer to read the review than to listen. One of the highlights for me were the simply punky guitar, bass and drums on ‘I’m a giant moth in a dirty factory’ which draws you into a high energy track that owes more than a passing nod to the Ramones. Also they make great use of fuzz boxes and various sound and guitar effects that, while not surprising to hear, are different enough to elicit a little ‘ooh not heard that in a while’ squeal.
The recording is rough around the edges, back, front and middle but what it does convey is what a fab band they must be when they play live. It also gives up how much they enjoy creating and playing this mis-match of 60’s psychedelic rock, 80s Madchester and Saturday morning craaazy kid’s T.V. while still managing to give it a very contemporary and fresh sound.
Nutronstars have that rare quality of mixing up the things that they like in a big ass pot, chucking in some Hanna-Barbera cartoons, lighting a big doobie, standing back and nodding quietly to themselves while watching the loons around them tear up the room.
Guest article from Neil R.