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Album review: Unqualified Nurse Band – Debasement Tapes

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★★★★

In a rock world so fuelled by nostalgia, finding a band that can mine the depths of rock n roll’s varied history and come out with their own, unique nuggets of gold should be applauded.

Debasement TapesDerby’s Unqualified Nurse Band is one of those groups, and following the promise of their debut EP Dilemma Blues, have delivered an album that has dragged the history of rock behind the bike sheds and kicked the living crap out of it!

Debasement Tapes is an album that doesn’t mess about, coming in at just 30 minutes running length for its 12 songs, it crams in 60 years of rock, pummelling it into new shapes throughout.

Exploding in a wall of noise ‘100 Beats’ sets the unrelenting tone – a short, sharp shock to the system (clocking in at under two minutes). Unqualified Nurse Band don’t exactly do subtle!

Chris Jones’ vocals are delivered as guttural screams from the soul, over music that is colossally uneasy with itself. There is some serious melody attempting to fight its way through the wall of feedback and distortion.

‘My Boots Are Shakin’ is a pop hit drowning in the pure power of rock n roll. ‘Growing Down’ is rockabilly if Mudhoney played rockabilly, and ‘There’s No Stopping Fate’ is surf rock, and almost dance-like rhythms in a head on collision with distortion.

You can hear innumerable bands, styles and influences floating in and out of Debasement Tapes but can never quite put your finger on them as the band expertly traverse the rock universe with incredible skill. ‘No Peaks No Troughs’ could be a new Thee Oh Sees single, or a classic Dick Dale surf tune without the polish, or a Joy Division off cut – or none of these things!

‘Death Will Stalk You’ is an undoubted standout. Built on a classic rock riff fed through enough pedals to drain the national grid, it is a track that oozes pure passion, anger and hatred.

It is packed with expletives as Jones screams, “He says all music is dead. He’s a fucking cunt and I don’t care what he says,” it feels like a vital piece of angst-driven vitriol against the people dwell in the past. Unqualified Nurse Band kill the past in favour of the future.

Debasement Tapes isn’t a release that requires massively analysis of its hidden depth (although there are plenty) it is an unashamed, direct, brutal assault on the senses.

Like all great rock n roll should be.

Debasement Tapes is out now online for 'pay what you like', and for pre-order on red vinyl HERE

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