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May 3, 2011

In the Nursery – “Blind Sound” – Viva Music Album Review


Artisans of Civilisation * Past Glory * Blind Sound * Crepuscule * Trial by Error * Coloured Silence* Lectern * Crave * Resonate * Overtone >Total running time: 45 mins

Written, arranged, produced & mixed by Klive & Nigel Humberstone. Nigel Humberstone – vocals, bass & keyboards; Klive Humberstone – vocals, tympani, orchestral drums & guitar; Dolores Marguerite C. – vocals; David Electrik – drums & marching snare. Additional musicians: Liz Hanks – cello; Matt Howden – violin & treatment; Graham McElearney – harp; Rob Skeet – clarinets. Photography & image manipulation – Guy J Brown

IN THE NURSERY’s “Blind Sound” is quite an experience for the listener, even more so for the one whose ears have not previously been tuned in to their majestic sound and glorious depictions of the most interesting facets of life. Usually swinging back and forth in critics’ view between neoclassical and martial electronica, what IN THE NURSERY is striking for is first of all their attention to the delicacy and minuteness of the slightest of sounds. With relevant experience in re-scoring silent movies (among which, most recently, the epoch-making 1928 “The Passion of St. Joan of Arc” with iconic Renee Jeanne Falconetti, IN THE NURSERY are sparkling in their creativity and imposition of atmosphere and cadence.

Sheffield twins Klive and Nigel Humberstone have a very easy-going sound: if fears that neoclassical is demanding and casts a screen of sobriety over music get the best of you, your fears are soon overcome by their music. In very pragmatic terms, martial electronica, which often serves as an umbrella denomination for the various streaks of genre that mix into their music, would very well describe what you are about to listen to; in less pragmatic terms, you have the probably unique chance to get carried away by the most enduring and solid original movie soundtrack that is not a soundtrack.

Blind Sound” debuts with a very majestic “Artisans of Civilisation”. The best way to describe this track is that you see our world being built before your own eyes in 6 mins 59’. It is really a masterpiece, and one that sets the dominant note of the entire album. Previously nurturing an interest in architecture, urban decay and regeneration, the duo presents us with a diligent and yet stubborn and unpredictable score. You could see buildings being erected, shops going out of business, landscapes shape shifting with your mind’s eye if you connect to the music. Not at all intrusive, but entirely cinematic, “Past Glory” is next, with an ancestral calling that is responsible for cementing the album’s entire foundation. What “Past Glory” does is similar to a very sensitive and mimetic stronghold that takes just as much space as allowed, and provides just as much opposition as you would expect it to: in other words, it reflects mimetically the change of paradigm between past and present with a very accurate rendition of what could well be the entire history of mankind.

Blind Sound”, the title that unapologetically gives the name of the album itself, sets a really evocative, multifaceted play on sound and color; truly inspired, it evokes a cosmogony and just as natural forces unfold in their both friendly and inimical ways and create a habitat, the track takes the listener to a safe haven, just in order to be able to better take perspective on the panoramic clash that gives shape to the world. The same feeling is preserved by “Crepuscule”: with its name as if from a classical piano piece, it is a true masterpiece of creativity and innovation.

Trial by Error” and “Coloured Silence” are two tracks that are unerringly sympathetic with their listeners, and their greatness is further enhanced by “Lectern”. Not in similarity of sound, but in intent and richness it easily brings to mind a project such as THIS MORTAL COIL. Whether it is about taking one’s adieux in a church flooded by light or about delivering a transcendental message from the chest-height of a lectern, the track unequivocally resorts to a multitude of genre textures canvassed over a very benevolent and inviting sound.

Especially interesting from the perspective of how fine of a job IN THE NURSERY can do when they talk about musicianship and teamwork is their next track, “Crave”. It really can accompany those moments when you feel that things don’t fall in place the way they should: its uniqueness and definite feel of origins that spread out in coherent shapes that restore order make out of “Crave” one of the most sincere and hopeful tracks of the new album. “Resonate” is next, with a reverberating and cultivated twist; as well as the closing track “Overtone”, which swipes close to the temples and gives the impressive ending such an album deserves.

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