Music: Nurse Grenade by Angelspit

Every now and then I like to have a blog post title that makes my entire family think: “Where did we go wrong?

People who knew me in the nineties will be amused to learn that I’m now listening to Australian industrial-techno music: namely, a band called Angelspit.  iTunes just got some new material from them and I grabbed Nurse Grenade (2004), a precursor to the later albums I’d already gotten hooked on.

I’m not sure why Angelspit connected with me when so many other techno groups have left me cold. Their driving, relentless beats are colored with machinery-like percussion, robotic keyboard licks, and metallic skronk guitars, all clocked together with Devo-like precision. Krankhaus and, to a lesser extent, Blood, Death, Ivory, have both seen heavy rotation on my commutes over the last several months.

Nurse Grenade is a more raw, and perhaps less precise, album, marred mostly by the band’s one consistent over-indulgence: deliberately hard-edged, grim, R-rated lyrics, that often sound like a dictionary was ransacked specifically for the most biting, offensive, and dissonant-sounding words available in English. This earlier album is more egregious than subsequent efforts in this regard, almost as if they were intent on getting some of that teenage scatology out of their system here. Even at its worst, though, the vocalizing is essentially rap with an angry, noir feel, and more rhythmic precision than most rap, so it’s hardly an overt distraction for me, even here.

Overall, Nurse Grenade is a decent album but probably only for the already-converted. A number of its songs overstay their welcome, which is harder to say about its sequels. The heavy, driving title track is the standout for me, with “Maggot” and “Head Kult” also clicking. Only “Meat,” which is nearly as tiresome musically as it is lyrically (you can guess the obvious subject matter), entirely failed to impress. Ultimately, this one lacks the perfectly clocked construction and stand-out tracks of Krankhaus, which is where to start if you’re into this kind of thing. But not a bad addition of tracks to their library.

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