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Nirvana - Local Anaesthetic CD (album) cover

LOCAL ANAESTHETIC

Nirvana

 

Proto-Prog

2.59 | 31 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Comfortably numb

By 1970, Nirvana's original sextet had been whittled down to one. Alex Spyropoulos the only other remaining member moved on, thus Nirvana became the vehicle for Patrick Campbell-Lyons solo work. The duo would link up again in the 1990s, when interest in the band was revived.

"Local anaesthetic" was the first release by Nirvana in this form, Campbell-Lyons describing it as the "birth of the real Nirvana". The album appeared on the Vertigo label, complete with swirl label and inner sleeve. There is certainly a sea change in the style of music here. Gone are the pysch pop sounds of songs such as "Tiny goddess" and "Pentecost hotel", to be replaced by a far more progressive style. The album consists of just two tracks, one on each side.

The first piece, "Modus operandi (method of work)" offers a co-credit to Patrick Joseph Kelly, but his precise involvement is not detailed. Other musicians, including members of Jade Warrior and Mel Collins are used on a session basis. The opening theme immediately tells us that this is not the Nirvana of old, with a disintegrating jazz theme and paranoid screaming giving way to a more orthodox blues rhythm. The vocals, which have a similarity to those of John Lees of BJH, are offbeat and avant- garde with an at times highly improvised feel. The track settles down to a sort of cross between COLOSSEUM and SOFT MACHINE with frequent time and style changes. Unfortunately, it all comes across as a bit of an unfocussed mishmash.

"Home", which occupies the second side, is a suite in five sections. The Jade Warrior contribution is obvious in the percussive start to "Salutation". The piece soon moves into the more familiar vocal style of Nirvana from the previous albums, with soft harmonies. Those familiar with the work of ARGENT post Russ Ballard will notice similarities in the sound here. Some pleasing mellotron drifts in towards the end of the opening section. As a whole, "Home" is far more melodic than "Modus operandi", with softer, more harmonic vocals and a tighter structure. It is a pleasant piece with some fairly commercial repetitive hooks which contrast noticably with side one.

"Local anaesthetic" is unquestionably Nirvana's most progressive release, and it does have some fine moments. In all though, for me it is largely uninspired and misses the mark.

The eye-catching sleeve has an intriguing image of an abandoned house containing a frozen mother and daughter.

Easy Livin | 2/5 |

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