Sunday, December 04, 2005

cult of the week - The Nits

artist: The Nits
title: Omsk

year: 1983

label: CBS Records

personnel: Henk Hofstede (vocals, dulcimer, keyboards), Robert Jan Stips (vocals, polysix, variophon, grand piano), Michiel Peters (vocals, mandolin, guitars), Rob Kloet (drums, lyra)
tracklisting: a touch of henry moore, unpleasant surpirse, vermillion pencil, springtime coming soon, tons of ink, jardin d'hiver, nescio, walls have ears, spirits awake, walter and conny, the cold eye, shadow of doubt
cotw say…

those in the UK get a very special treat this week when one of the world's most overlooked bands takes to London the stage for it's first ever full UK concert. despite clocking up no less that 30 years of boundless creativity, Dutch group The Nits still remain all but unknown outside pockets of continental Europe.
'Omsk' was in fact The Nits' fifth album, and it signalled a colossal leap forward in the band's outlook from eccentric new wave to an esoteric, if arty, maturity. 'A touch of Henry Moore' is quick to ring the changes. with its layered synthesized percussive textures and counterpointed vocals, it simply sounds like no-one else but...The Nits. even better are tracks such as 'The Vermillion Pencil' and the evocative 'Nescio', which show Henk Hofstede to be a Lennonish songwriter of enormous talent. similarly noteworthy are the subtle keyboard, drum and production touches that have become central to The Nits' sound. the drum fx on 'Spirits Awake' and aforementioned 'Nescio', are a handful of very many examples. and whilst the occasional track is unsubtle enough to remind you of The Nits of old ('Unpleasant Surprise' - very apt!), 'Omsk' remains one of the most defiantly individual, and adult, synthpop records of 1983.

from this point on, The Nits just got better and better, accumulating a massive body of work in the process. take your (nit)pick. you won't regret it.

erik -

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