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Record Review Reprint
Hammill's second worst album after Skin. A seeming reaction against the introspective early albums, Hammill adopted the alter-ego of the extrovert Nadir, hence the title. It was a musical mistake in my opinion. The opening track is well-intentioned lyrically with an inveighing against the absurdities of glam-rock but the music is awful. Even if it is meant to be funny, it works and that is that. Straight after that, we have the rather good The Institute of Mental Health, Burning that recalls The Silent Corner and the Empty Stage and even some of the melodies on his very first album. A strange and interesting track. Open Your Eyes sounds like a very early Van der Graaf track, only not quite as good. Quite a nice chorus but often quite standard and unoriginal for Hammill. Sounds like uninventive 70s rock, which might have been the point. The opening beat of Nobody's Business is unpromising and the guitar line clinches it. Next track please. Even the usually promising opening acoustic setting of Been Alone So Long cannot save a mediocre melody and bland song. Shingle is reasonable: nice vocals but the saxophone is horrible. Airport contains some of the originality of the Hammill approach to melody but the chorus is rather twee. People You Were Going To is quite good. The quirky beat is supported by a reasonable harmony. Nothing special. Again, reminiscent of early Van der Graaf. Birthday Special is more of the horrible fake rock of the opening track. The closing track Two or Three Spectres is almost completely uninteresting too. Like Skin, I recommend avoiding this album unless you are keen to obtain the most complete perspective on Hammill's music. Not an undesirable thing in itself but there are few musical reasons to like this album.
© 1996 Phil Kime
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