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Nirvana Local Anaesthetic album cover
2.63 | 34 ratings | 7 reviews | 18% 5 stars

Good, but non-essential

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Studio Album, released in 1971

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Modus Operandi (Method of Work) (16:09)
2. Home (19:10) :
- a. Salutation
- b. Construction
- c. Deconstruction
- d. Reconstruction
- e. Fanfare

Total Time 35:19

Bonus tracks on 2017 reissue:
3. The Saddest Day of My Life
4. I Wanna Go Home

Line-up / Musicians

- Patrick Campbell-Lyons / performer, composer, producer

- Patrick Joseph Kelly / keyboards (1)
- Steve Bird / guitar
- Jon Field / African drums, bongos

Note: The actual instrumentation could not be fully confirmed at this moment

Releases information

Sleeve Note: This work is not a solo effort and I give my thanks to Jade Warrior, Sunbird, Mrs Kelly, Jeremy Barlow, Mother and Dave, Mel Collins, Glenn and Nicky, all at Island Studios, and you. Modus Operandi (Method of Work) was written and recorded at Island Studios during November 1970. Home was composed December 1970 and January 1971 and was recorded in late January.

Producer, Liner Notes: Patrick Campbell-Lyons
Engineer: Roger Beale
Writers: Patrick Campbell-Lyons, Patrick Joseph Kelly (1)

Artwork: Keef (Keith Morris)

LP Vertigo ‎- 6360 031 (1971, UK)

CD Repertoire Records ‎- RR 4109-WP (1990, Germany)
CD Repertoire Records ‎- REP 5118 (2008, Europe) Remastered
CD Esoteric Recordings ‎- ECLEC 2588 (2017, UK) with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to MANDRAKEROOT for the addition
and to Prog Network & projeKct for the last updates
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Buy NIRVANA Local Anaesthetic Music

NIRVANA Local Anaesthetic ratings distribution

(34 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(18%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(12%)
Good, but non-essential (38%)
Collectors/fans only (24%)
Poor. Only for completionists (9%)

NIRVANA Local Anaesthetic reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by 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.

Review by Eetu Pellonpaa
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars For me this is maybe the most interesting album of the four first major releases done by this cute little band. But I admit I still don't see it as a really essential record. If compared to the carefully constructed pop songs from their late 60's releases, "Local Anaesthetic" has much more improvisational playing in it, and there are more jazz elements included in the sound. Keyboards are mainly represented by a piano, which makes the music's tone quite pleasant to my ears. Tony Duhig's presence can be heard in some passages which therefore sound very much like Jade Warrior, these elements being some African sounding drumming and wind sections. The first song (or collection of songs) is musically more compact, as the music flows continuously onward. The second side is thematically more united, but the tracks have clear pauses between them so I'm not sure it's right to claim it being a one compact song. Also I don't understand the meaning of few seconds of piano playing, where the whole album ends. There was also a one single being cut from this side, which's theme is focused in serious homesickness. Musically the album isn't still very tight or unique, though it's a fun record to listen through from time to time. I would recommend it for the serious fans of Jade Warrior and for those who are returning home from a long journey.
Review by silvertree
1 stars Local Anaesthetic are one of the rare albums of the 'original' Nirvana that one can accidentally find. I bought mine in a 'reject bin', probably bought by mistake by someone who thought it was the grunge band. So it's definitely not to be confused !! Anyway, I guess I was expecting mind-blowing psychedelic music and I was very disappointed. I had the impression of listening to bad album by Donovan. The album is composed of two side-long tracks. The first one has a weird introduction that should have been cut out. Not much to say about the music with uninteresting guitar solos and very repetitive music patterns. It just didn't catch my attention and will probably end up in yet another reject bin.
Review by ClemofNazareth
2 stars One has to keep in mind while listening to this album that there were a lot of mind-altering substances floating around in the late sixties and, while some of them may have “opened” people’s minds, others had a tendency to dull one’s ability to distinguish between personal perception and reality. That’s a nice way of saying that a lot of late sixties and early seventies music sounded much better to the people playing it than to those who were listening. The music on this album falls into that category.

I really hate to write negative things about this record because it is housed in what I consider to be one of the truly great and timeless album covers of all time. The very creepy and frozen mother being tended to by her sardonic daughter against a backdrop of a barren and whited-out house with a dilapidated fireplace and Patrick Campbell-Lyons looking away from a side window was a scene just full of symbolism and fodder for ill-informed discussion among impressionable young teens who may have been dabbling in some substance-driven mind-alteration themselves. Too bad for me I never discovered these guys back in the day, but I can imagine some of the weird conversations among those who did.

This is really a solo album since Campbell-Lyons’ writing partner Alex Spyropoulos had moved on by this point and the duo had long since abandoned the pretense of the group being anything more than just the two of them although occasional guests and session musicians would continue to appear on their records and in rare live appearances even after the quartet recruited after their first album’s success had all gone their separate ways.

But despite great packaging the music doesn’t live up to expectations. It’s pretty evident Spyropoulos’ arrangements made more of a contribution to the Nirvana sound than Campbell-Lyons may have cared to admit. While the first handful of the albums by the two are really closer to well-constructed pop than progressive rock, this one is almost the opposite – pretty progressive arrangements but so loosely constructed as to appear almost improvised at times (and probably it was). The most immediate comparison I could make would be to some of the stuff Marc Bolan did pre-T. Rex (‘A Beard of Stars’ comes to mind). One major difference though is that the guitar work on this record is decidedly heavier with blues riffs and less about either psych fuzz or folk-inspired chords like Bolan tended toward before he became a glam king (or queen, whatever).

The record consists of two songs, one (“Modus Operandi”) being this lengthy sort of mess that starts off as a promising avant-jazz tune before quickly descending into hollow vocal cries and eventually an almost boogie motif with frequent yet random and disjointed tempo, instrument and mood changes and vocals that may tell a story but honestly I can’t be bothered to try and figure this one out.

“Home” is in suite form with unoriginally-labeled sections. Campbell-Lyons is quite a bit more disciplined here, with each section being fairly contiguous, and all of them fit together nicely. There are some issues, namely the opening salutation dragging on far too long and the ‘destruction’ section threatening to sound like a Tommy James pop-rock tune but managing to just barely avoid doing so. Otherwise the back side of the record is pretty good stuff, though I can’t say it holds up all that well after nearly forty years. Then again, there’s a lot of other stuff from that period that hasn’t aged even this well.

I’d really like to give this record three stars, but honestly unless you are either a strong fan of the band or of acid folk in general I doubt you’ll find much to like here, so two it is but probably the best two star album I've ever reviewed. If you are then by all means I’d recommend looking this one up; otherwise stick to the better-known classics of the genre.


Review by GruvanDahlman
4 stars So, here it is. A review concerning the infamous "Local aenesthetic" by Nirvana. It seems most people are put off by the fact or notion that it doesn't sound like Nirvana used to. Well, that may be true. I am really not too familiar with Nirvana, merely a casual listener of yesteryear. Nice enough but that's it. Anyway, since I have an interest in albums generally regarded as inferior I always feel the urge to examine it, discover it's secrets and lay bare a plethora of hidden gems and artefacts. In some cases it all comes out in glory and I hear angelic bursts of trumpets but sometimes (quite often) I find the same barren wasteland as others already have done. In the case of Nirvana I dare say I have struck gold and I am truly happy for it.

I will not go into detail regarding the line-up on this album or why things are that way. I will simply draw a conclusion, based on my own wild imagination, that Campbell-Lyons listened to and picked up the wind of progressive rock and let his ship fill it's sail with that wind and enter a new realm of musical plenty. 1971 was a year when alot of progressive plants already had been planted, so I assume he had been listening to the likes of King Crimson and Genesis. Now I am not saying that the music on "Local aenesthetic" is anything like the albums by just now mentioned counterparts but it belongs to the same species, and that is progressive music. When reading about the album one gets the feeling of a man collapsing under the weight of his own lofty ambitions and musical legacy, only to crash to the ground like a burning aeroplane. I do, actually, beg to differ and here is why.

Consisting of only two long tracks the album stretches out for 35 minutes and it is 35 wonderful minutes. The music is not at all as sophisticated, as elegant or as tightly arranged as the music of Genesis or Gentle Giant and not nearly as complex. It holds a much more raw, rough edged and loosely played quality. The two tracks, or suites, are based around more or less simple melodies tied together into a whole.

"Modus operandi" opens up with something truly unique for this album, a cacophony of sounds and screams that are quite avantgarde. Soon follows a boogie section (which I by now grown accustomed to) but soon settles into a more enjoyable blues-rock fashion. The whole things develop into a hard rocking affair where the tension is mounting. It is a wonderful composition that holds a jamming sensation where improvisation takes the center stage, though contained inside a delightful groove. There's a psychedelic section aswell, which only proves a well known point: the ingredients of prog are many and diverse.

"Home", the second track, starts off with bass and percussion before a beautiful melody enters and soft, trembling vocals comes in. To me it's irresistable. Simply gorgeous. The sound is somewhat Kinks-ish, only slightly rougher. The track is yet again a builder with denser and denser instrumentation. It really rocks quite hard and intensively. It ends, after more melodious and beutiful melodies, with blues-rock and a slight return to the initial melody. Fantastic track.

I suppose that if you're into the meticulous arrangements and delicate harmonies of Nirvana pre-"Local aenesthetic" you may be in for quite a shock. The music bears little resemblance to those albums prior to this one. What you get is a raw, rough sounding piece of early progressive rock where psych, blues, hard rock, jazz and (a slight presence of) avant-garde. I.e. everything you might expect from progressive rock during the very early formative years of existence. I just love it. Sure, it consists of fairly simple melodies and the intricacy of other more complex bands is not there but what you get is really a blueprint for progressive rock where a visionary approach to music breaks the chains and heads into unknown territory. I feel very little for Nirvana as a whole but in this instance I cannot do anything else than to bow down and stick both thumbs up in the air in awe and admiration. A terrific album from start to finish that might need a couple of spins to really appreciate but then again, isn't that the true nature of prog?

4 stars from me.

Latest members reviews

3 stars Nirvana's 1971 release, "Local Anaesthetic," is a departure from their typical sound, displaying a remarkable progression in their musical exploration. With just two tracks, "Modus Operandi (Method of Work)" and "Home," both of epic proportions, the album takes listeners on a journey through unchart ... (read more)

Report this review (#2962575) | Posted by Prog Network | Thursday, October 19, 2023 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Probably the only true Prog album with Nirvana moniker is, in reality, the first Campbell-Lyons album. 'Local Anahestetic is not a good album in first instance. This is true in all instances in reference to 'Modus Operandi because this long composition is pure psychedelic composition and too poo ... (read more)

Report this review (#164294) | Posted by timeprog | Wednesday, March 19, 2008 | Review Permanlink

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