Robert Lloyd was/is a true great.
There - I've started. It's ultra-strange to be trying to conjure up and then post words, when the subject under review is so wonderfully jammed solid with funny, interesting, poignant WORDS! It seems a sacrilege of sorts, but I just can't leave this be.
Alarm bells ring; let this one alone, don't even try, but big-headed dolt that I am, I figure I can tackle it - that bumbling, spluttering me can do it some kind of justice. You, dear cyber-space reader, must be the judge.
'POP' (Oh God..yes!..YES!!) is one of the best records you will hear. Ever. In your life. You will have to experience the words on it for yourselves. Far better narrators than I have tried (and mostly failed) to expound significantly about 'POP's lyrical content, and yes, I am acutely aware that I'm already failing in my role of hot reviewer of long lost classic albums and films by that wretched cowardly side-step.
It's a beautifully realized, amazingly constructed, magnificent, mad, belligerent, intelligent pop vision (See the way I've cleverly moved away from the subject of the words, I know my limitations.).
It seems to have hundreds of fast, punky songs which hit at a fair old lick, but still leave you gagging for more - which you get; thanks to the welcome inclusion of a couple of important ep's, fitted on the end.
There's no sense of a few b-sides tacked on here, no demo's or live (yeucchh!) versions of your faves - it's a super-duper, revved-up, even more ace edition of what was pretty damned good to start with.
What of Robert Lloyd I hear you ask in a jostling throng. Well, I've forgiven him for not giving me an interview when I was thinking of starting a fanzine yonks ago. (He didn't even reply to my letter) For revenge, me and my mate, fiendish Paisley Pete stood in front of him in Llangollen Town Hall, (where the insane 'Vindaloo' tour had strayed) so he couldn't see Fuzzbox, much to his annoyance.
Rock n Roll as an instrument of revolution! Oh yes.
Anyway, on 'POP' Lloyd rains absolutely supreme; his throat must've been raw after recording because he's steadfastly ensconced as the lyrical (drat!) centre-point of every song on it - and that's quite a big deal; because each song has no moments of respite, no long intro's or guitar solo's.
It begins, Lloyd sings a lot of words(double-drat!) and it finishes. Minimalist lack of fuss is the order of the day, and a mention, and big credit, to producer Richard Strange('The Phenomenal Rise of Richard Strange' on cd, someone, somewhere in label-land...please) who has created a sound you will not hear anywhere else; edgy, but smooth, busy yet crystal clear. Nice one Dick.
What about the rest of the Nightingales I hear you ask, politely, but with the sense of authority only such colossal numbers can command?They're laying down a spiky backing track to perfectly showcase Lloyds linguistic, literary spears (no, I haven't forgotten). At the same time managing to look less a pop group than anyone else in history.
There's cows in a field opposite to where I'm scribing more trad rock than the rest of the Nightingales(and there's been so many line-up changes over the years, that they could easily qualify for their own rock sub-category. East dust The Fall!). Unlikely is putting it mildly.
One is about 23 and has a Bobby Charlton comb-over, another is the absolute spit of Henry off the David Lynch film 'Eraserhead'(Honest!). For certain, Lynch would love the Nightingales but that idea is TOO perverse, and defeats even me.
The rest of the Nightingales are Lloyd's philosopher's stone, and he's their Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Pettifogging asides aside, if you're just coming to 'POP' now, I envy you. A rewarding journey has just begun. Everyone would believe you if you say the Nightingales are a hot new act, easily wiping the floor with modern adversaries like Arctic Monkeys and Gorillaz.
They're from Brum too! Blooming yam-yams!! I wouldn't.
Now, about those words.....