Nephu Huzzband - Elementary
6am. Downtown Basra. The Green Zone. After a long night patrolling and fighting insurgents the soldiers are relaxing in the mess to the dulcet tones of … Nephu Huzzband. Live! Sounds unlikely but that is surely the image that went through the band's heads as they shipped out 100s of copies of their 2008 live album to our soldiers in Iraq. They can’t be faulted for their initiative but you suspect most of the CDs ended up as target practice - a shame as it showcased their brand of incendiary punk nicely.
Flash forward to 2009 and we have Elementary, the debut studio album from the Leicester four-piece to ponder. It throws together some punk, indie, hardcore, screamo and a dash of progressive rock to reveal a thrilling sound that, while nothing especially groundbreaking, keeps the listener gripped for the course of the album.
‘The Finger That Points’ opens up with a slow build into a half sung, half screamed epic reminiscent of the criminally underrated Forward Russia. ‘It’s Only Ordinary’ follows using the template well laid down by Texas Noiseniks …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead and, in truth, theirs is the dominant influence throughout the majority of this album. There is nothing inherently wrong with this as Trail of Dead have made some brilliant music over the years but a little more variety would have been nice.
‘Nurse! Nurse!’ has some nice staccato drumming and key changes that are pretty damn impressive in a song that runs a mere 1:30. ‘No, Not Ever’, even shorter at 1:07, makes you want to jump around, shouting at the top of your voice. What more could you want from such a song? The epically-titled ‘If You Thought That Broke Your Spirit, You’re Not Going To Like What’s Coming Next’ drives us forcefully to the conclusion, although the fade out ending seems a little misplaced. A huge crashing finalé would have felt more appropriate.
Elementary is an engaging album that rattles along at a ferocious pace and you hope that Nephu Huzzband will be able to expand the ideas and obvious inventiveness shown here to produce something that can escape the confines of their influences.