NURSE WITH WOUND – “Two Shaves And A Shine” (from the LP An Awkward Pause)
Following my trashing of Doves on grounds of length, you might reasonably ask whether I’d like any long rock song. Here’s the answer. “Two Shaves And A Shine” is nine-and-a-half minutes, and electrifying.
Nurse aren’t a rock band, which probably helps: what they do is put sounds together with more-or-less surrealist intent. To the listener for whom surrealism means replacing the punchline to a joke with the word “fish”, or winkingly introducting ‘weird’ objects into ordinary pictures, a word of caution: Nurse With Wound records aren’t like that. NWW go back to the roots of surrealism, to Breton and Lautreamont (who their first album swiped a title from). So what? you ask. So no two Nurse records sound the same, so they make music (“Rock And Roll Station”) which sounds like trying to remember a dream feels, so they also make music (To The Quiet Men From A Tiny Girl) which feels like being trapped in shadow hospitals where all the doctors have pig heads.
But for these purposes, forget all that stuff. “Two Shaves And A Shine” is a long rock song. Except it’s also ninety-three or so short rock songs, set on a six-second cycle, bouncing along on a spindly, bug-eyed bass riff. This radical fragmentation keeps the pace steady but also stops your attention slackening: compositionally: it’s taking the common techno idea of minor variation over a steady beat and applying it to rock, with dynamic results. You get David Tibet’s visionary ranting, then shrieking and scraping guitars and breakneck bouzouki. It’s original and it grooves and it’s got that air of deranged risk that you always imagined rock music should have: what more can one ask?