Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Nice Strong Arm - Reality Bath (1987, Homestead)

And so I present you with the final piece of the Nice Strong Arm puzzle, their debut, Reality Bath.  I've featured their subsequent platters Mind Furnace and Stress City eons ago, and a convenient thing that since both were extractable from CDs.  Reality Bath, on the other hand, was a vinyl/tape-only proposition.  Those in the know about these angsty New Yorkers, fronted by one Kevin Thomson, will no doubt boast their noisenik credentials, and rightfully so I suppose, but these folks were emanating from points of catharsis and artful sensibility, not so much full bore aggression. 

On second thought, it's damn near impossible to deny that Reality Bath isn't chockablock with raging, dissonant notions and eardrum-frying sprawl.  Even relatively likeminded contemporaries Live Skull and Red Temple Spirits couldn't quite compete with NSA's near-disorienting sonic alchemy that often fell just shy of surreal.  No, taking this proverbial Bath won't be of Calgon proportions in the least, and dare I say there's not much here that's "fun," but despite it's miles-deep layers of sinewy latticework, the going rarely gets difficult.  Furthermore there’s more guttural, emo pathos at play here than Rites of Spring ever thought to fling in our direction.  If you're looking for some comparatively melodic respites, you may want to dive in at "When Truth Comes Around," "Minds Lie," and "Free At Last."  This one's an acquired taste that's well worth acquiring, and check out NSA's second and third records linked above

01. Life of the Party
02. Date of Birth
03. Copperhead
04. Disenchanted
05. When Truth Comes Around
06. Life is So Cool
07. Minds Lie
08. Free at Last
09. Notes From a Gut
10. Dying Skin

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