Nirvana New Cult CD Just released!

NIRVANA is a movie, for sure - if Vadim, Antonioni or Kubrick had made pop records back in the late 1960s, they might have sounded somewhat like the delights on offer here. The imagery, both expressed and implied, is most exquisite. A pair of dolly birds giggling frothily in a booth at the "Speak". The day-glo sunset from the balcony of a Monte Carlo casino. Tantalizing intrigue amongst the international jet set. NIRVANA's is a uniquely cinematic soundscape.

This is America's first real opportunity to dip into the chocolate box that is NIRVANA. The group's original stateside releases were limited to the Simon Simopath album and a trio of unsuccessful singles, and it's not hard to imagine that back then, their records were considered too European - too Continental, even - for American tastes.

That was then, this is now. NIRVANA was both completely of its time, and curiously timeless, because their central strength is the songwriting. Beautifully fragile as in 'Pentecost Hotel', indescribably sad as 'Lonely Boy', insidiously off-beat as in 'St John's Wood Affair'. It makes sense that the main protagonists, Patrick Campbell-Lyons and Alex Spyropoulos, first met as jobbing songsmiths, because composition and craft are central to the NIRVANA aesthetic.

Patrick and Alex may give us exotic locales and quixotic characters, but they also sing of the everyday and the mundane, the sad and the pathetique. There's an innate sense of melancholy one derives from the gamin vocals and the mournful melodies. It's most perfectly poised in 'Tiny Goddess', something of a standard, given that this splendid tune was also recorded by the likes of Francoise Hardy and others.

The biographical details behind NIRVANA are intriguing enough - Irish native Campbell-Lyons journeying to London to take part in the beat boom as lead singer with R&B outfit the Second Thoughts, who wandered Europe, but a more substantial partnership bloomed upon meeting Greek film student Alex Spyropoulos.

Both singers and keyboard players, the new partners' combined Celtic and Hellenic humours inspired the formation of NIRVANA: pop confected with jazz and classical textures. The background in song-smithy and an altogether progressive approach to the art of making records saw the new act swiftly inked to Chris Blackwell's Island Records, an organization moving beyond their bread-and-butter bluebeat toward the psychedically-inclined rock of that halcyon summer of '67.

NIRVANA was a group of sorts at first, and that was how their first album, the gorgeous, thematic Story Of Simon Simopath, was presented, along with sundry, cleverly devised live performances that were the talk of the town. Chart action for the group's various singles was intermittent, even if the pirates loved them, and the act had devolved to the core of Alex and Patrick by the time of the sequel - and NIRVANA's masterpiece - All Of Us, one of the best albums of the late 1960s, in any land.

So now, almost a half-century later, we have Cult, the Young Persons Guide To NIRVANA and what a delirious romp through their remarkable catalogue it is. Because they were effectively a studio-only exercise, NIRVANA have never really received their due amongst the rock literati, and consequently, beyond the original listenership, their magic has been the province of a knowing cabale of true believers. Let's hope Cult does its intended job, and shows America where true NIRVANA lies.

Alec Palao 

Cult Track Listing

1 Wings Of Love
2 Lonely Boy
3 We Can Help You
4 Satellite Jockey
5 In The Courtyard Of The Stars
6 You Are Just The One
7 Pentecost Hotel
8 Rainbow Chaser
9 Tiny Goddess
10 The Touchables (All of Us)
11 Trapeze
12 The Show Must Go On
13 Girl In the Park
14 Miami Masquerade
15 You Can Try It
16 The St. Johns Wood Affair
17 I Believe In Magic
18 Life Ain't Easy
19 Darling Darlane
20 Oh What a Performance

Bonus track

21 Habemus De Loca
22 Requim for John Coltrane
23 Our Love is The Sea


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