|New Musical Express Live Review - 10th September 1994
UH-OH! MAD-EYED screamer alert! The Nubiles frontman Tara is caterwauling his sneery passions over a barbed wire thrash, punching his bass insensible and resurrecting gums not seen since Albert Steptoe lost his dentures. He used to be in 5.30, but he's over it now.
"Ah, more testosterone scoops of nouveau New Wave!" groans an expectant nation, suppressing an ecstatic yawn, yet The Nubiles have hidden depths. Their material is disconcertingly diverse, for one, with broad sweeping dynamics, heroic choruses and crafty arrangements. Technical intricacies are unencumbered by self-indulgence, and lyrics are obscure enough to warrant further investigation. In short, The Nubiles offer substance where their contemporaries offer froth, which means they are what we used to call An Albums Band.
True, they can be chokingly claustrophobic, with dense slabs of blanket thrash battling with the epic realms of stadium schlock. Off they dash, careering from the macabvre and uncomfortable ('Single Mum Barbie') to the fresh-faced harmonics of pure pop, where 'Layabout' is a punked-up Rocky Horror 'Timewarp', and 'Chasing 10' a fugitive from the golden age of glam.
They may give the impression of unfettered purple passion and unbridled teenage lust - Tara and fellow frontliner, guitarist Giorgio spend most of the evening dilating their pupils and doing the Foxton Hop - but they also reek of longevity, so despite first impressions, The Nubiles arent' wild eyed nihilists on a one-way trip to Oblivion - they're simply career songwriters hitching a ride on the latest rollercoaster. Lithe and kicking.
|Melody Maker Live Review - 12th November 1994
EDWARDS No8, BIRMINGHAM
These Nubiles are not an easy band. They offer you a certain tantalising something, clues to mysteries waiting to be solved, a party that isn't private, but the tickets are damned hard to get hold of. But you have to met them half way. Are you up to it?
Tara, ex-Five Thirty and a vocalist of epic proportions in every respect, straddles the small stage, marching around like a man possessed.
'Mother And Father' is a swirling kind epic of the kind Mercury Rev could have produced, had their dreams been Ramones-type nightmares instead of free-floating jazz illusions..
'Kunta Kinté' is all high jinx and high kicks at the drum kit, and the stage appears to be shrinking with every passion-fuelled chord.Or maybe the band are growing. "You're only sad cos you don't know you're happy", it punk-funks, requesting that you aim your murderous thoughts at the BNP, thereby undermining the all too desperate PC fury of tonights headliners, S*M*A*S*H. They have a persuasion that's hard to ignore - the musical equivalent of those supposed hangover-curing effervescent tablets.
'Layabout' suffers a false start. Spot the irony, reader. Then, getting their shit together, The Nubiles spook us thoroughly out with Fall-like taunting lyrics and whining guitars on a sliding scale. It's apparently Justine Elastica and Damon Blur's favourite Nubiles track, and if Mr and Mrs Corner The Pop Market love 'em what further recommendation do you need.
|Kerrang Album Review
Normally we'd expect lunacy of this magnitude to originate in the low countries. Or maybe somewhere where there's not much electricity and a lot of incest, but this is homegrown insanity, a punky jazzy technicolour spew, by turns senseless and glorious, and no doubt guided by the same deranged muse that has watched over rock's freer spirits down the generations. We're talking Primus, Laibach, Sparks, Perry Farrell... in fact we're talking more bizarre than anything Frank Zappa hasn't has a hand in, and that's scary.
Is it any good? It's either the best or the worst album ever made. You Decide.
|Curfew - Live Reviews:
With a name like the Nubiles you'd expect something along the lines of the legendary eye and headline-grabbing Stranglers gig at Battersea Park in 1978, at the zenith of new wave domination, when they appeared along with an entourage of nubile young women. Well no, not really, it was not to be. Of course it couldn't ever happen like that anymore but replace the naked bodies with the Nubile's own particular brand of denuded melodic dub-punk and you have an altogether more appealing and effective prospect.
Fast forward to the end of the set and a mystified crowd blink like rabbits caught in the glare of an oncoming car. I know this because I was one of them. They, as I, know that there is very little similar or comparable to encountering the Nubiles live. If I had to sum it up in one word it would have to be aggression: vicious, emotional and uncompromised aggression, and don't forget power, and then there's... oh very well, I give up. You see, it isn't very often that a band comes along that appeals so much without waving the all too obvious 'I owe a huge debt to...' card, rather like something out of It's a Knockout (showing my age here) before they start playing. There is a disturbing tendency in the national press to brand any vaguely young-looking, fast and angry band part of the spurious punk revival, namely the Newwaveofnewwave (TM) but scratch the Nubile's aggressive veneer and below lies far. far more.
Slowly but surely the Nubiles continue their quest for world-wide domination and unlike the last time I caught them at the venue their ambitions no longer seem like a handful of empty promises: words falling on deaf ears. this time they play to a rapidly-converted audience, albeit a smaller crowd then normal (why come along just as the band is finishing?...suckers) and with every song the applause grows until this awesome, if obtuse, spectacle has been taken into everyone's hearts.
In amongst the swirling melee the crowd reels, semi-conscious from repeated blows to the head with a bass guitar, whilst Tara, the orchestrator of such aural violence stands like a man possessed; a sentinel; demonically staring and hollering above the music which veers from punk-pop to dub, even swaying towwards jazz rockabilly but without ever heading off into self-indulgent muso territory. Frankly it's everything you ever need from a band and more.
Oh yes, the songs. At the risk of fawning excessively, and praising them to the skies, you'll just have to take it from me that the subtle blend of Ramones meets the Rocky Horror Show of 'Layabout' and the controlled melodic aggression of 'Tatjana' really are the best things since toast and marmite. In the words of our distinctly non-PC forefathers - 'Bring on the Nubiles'. You know it makes sense.
|The Nubiles / Amoebuzz
Amoebuzz are an example of two things. One, the wide variety of Oxford's music scene. Two, the dullness of unbridled MUSICIANSHIP combined with no tunes. I mean, I'm GLAD that there are bands in Oxford who aren't just grungy indies playing the usual chord sequences. I bring to your attention the Iron Clowns, who share a bassist with Amoebuzz and have a fresh and imaginative approach to the post-'Remain in Light' mutant world funk thing. But by the end of the Amoebuzz set I would give my best casual slacks to see some grundies grinding through a load of Zep and Free covers - yes, even that. For Amoebuzz, despite immense proficiency and cleverness, despite the singer's scary tribal face paint (but PLEASE put some shoes on)... well, ultimately, they sound like late period King Crimson (and for those of you who are too young to know what that means it's like 'Nevermind' but with a few fiddly extra rhythm changes).
Now, talking of rhythm changes, BRING...ON...THE...NUBILES (sorry but they are going to have to get used to this as they're bound to get reviewed in the national music press sooner or later and I'm not the only reviewer who's listened to the Stranglers y'know).
More top-calibre musicianship here too, though the Nubiles use their skills more effectively to purvey sonic brutality of a type that you Ministry fans out there will certainly relate to (some valiant souls were even trying to headbang to it though they had to ease off after the fifteenth rhythm change in the first song). Bone-crunching bass and drums, storms of overdriven guitar, harmonies and progressions that say: 'Be afraid, be very afraid'. Meanwhile your man Tara leaps and cavorts like a dervish in a sensory deprivation chamber or Martin 'Bloke from Sevenchurch', whichever is more frightening.
Forget 5.30- the only mod thing here is Tara's occasional Weller jump - and, for the second time this evening, forget about melody in any of its traditional forms, captain. We are now landing on planet angst: white lights, white noise, paranoia, nasty forms scuttling along claustrophobic corridors,. The only comforting factors to fall back on are the one (comparatively) melodic dub metal number and the fact that the drummer is wearing spectacles - otherwise he is clearly a killer android who has been re-programmed to beat his drumkit to death in hundreds of ways.
The Nubiles create a sound that is overwhelming, alienating, impressive, totally unique and all done sample-free with two guitars, bass and drums. personally I didn't enjoy it at all. But, you're not supposed to enjoy it and in the present climate of industrial techno, music-as-pain etc, they should do well.
Now, about those Free and Zep covers...
|The Nubiles / Supergrass / Skydrive
The Hollybush, Osney
Oxford bands beware! Nothing short of placing a Nissan in the car park and letting it rain a battery of mortar shells through the gig roof is likely to animate a local audience. That's the way it is round here, you knock your pan out on stage o the point of self-combustion and you'll find them warm but still stood around like film extras waiting for the mother ship to open in 'Close Encounters Of The Third Kind'. Take the same set to some other shire and you'll have the buggers peeling off the ceiling into a fleet of waiting ambulances. You could, of course, add a fiddle palyer to your ranks - a la Cropdusters - and they'll behave as if they've just been talced with itching powder on the door, but most would agree that this would be just one step from complete surrender.
A vox survey reveals childhood repression, middle class laissez -faire, a non-intimidatory JobStart system and begrudging musicians all to be part of this parachial indolence, someone even thought it was the city's way of demanding innovation from it's bands, a coment that would make the normally affable Tara of The Nubiles snort, as even he was moved at one on-stage moment to point out the reciprocal nature of these events.You really would have to go a long way to see three more kicking units than on tonights bill.
Having let out all that steam from under my vest, I don't profess to be a number one lover of Skydrive's type of ultra hard-edged underground Yank-rock, though it's rib-rattling nature would surely jump-start a corpse, as it reverberates with self-hatred and pain that would tear off Rollins' head and spit in the hole. Steph doesn't so much sing as spew out hideous globs of sonic matter while trying to claw his way off stage like some scrofulous grotesque, and at the break I see our esteemed editor wreathed in smiles, so somebody was getting his buttons pushed.
Supergrass, on the other hand, are more my can of beer, and quite simply my new tip for big success this year. A classic three-piece with a tap-root that has soaked out the best parts of three decades of left-field Brit Modism, they're definitely 'of-the-moment', while clattering us like a bantam-weight boxer with a 30-minute set that gave all age-groups present a snapshot of their youth. Keith Moon percussion clambering all over a Jam guitar ride shrink-wrapped with Buzzcocks/Squeeze lyrical lucidity and you'll understand what the stir is all about, throw in the Small Faces or the Toy Dolls, and the world is their winkle. The fact that Danny Goffey and Gareth Coombes, drums and guitar respectively, are ex-Jennifer types helps to explain the stunning maturiy of songs like 'Strange Ones' and 'Caught By The Fuzz' (absolutely ace), while the fact that they, and bassist Mick Quinn, are still baby-faced mobsters will surely have them signed and comin'-atcha-thru-your-radio soon.
Finally, sharing laurels on this terrific night are The Nubiles, justifying yet another review with their extraordinary bouts of 'sophisticated?' cyber-rage. I've long ago used up my note book of superlatives and metaphors on these deviants, and how their seamless tapestry of music is alternately emptied out to solo bass then oscillated back with intelligent and bizarre songs to a climax, creating a hypnotic mojo effect. On this occasion, though, a lot of this spell is lost as we keep being jerked back to reality when they have to chop their set about after a string on Penny Schueller's guitar gives out. But, despite all the awkward pauses, these radical noiseniks still give a performance that seemed doused in paraffin and set alight while the full house stood and manned the barricades.
That, of course, could be the take-home enigma about Oxford audiences; they may not be leaping off the rafters into your arms, but the very fact that they bothered to turn up at all means they love you dearly.
|The Nubiles / The Human Torches
My jury is still out on whether the Human Torches are brilliant unknown prophets in their own land or just a complete cast-iron crock of shite. A free lyric sheet might help me.
The main drawback is that this melodyless sound is not exactly my can of beer, sharing a common legacy with every nasty American guitar band from the Melvins and Big Black onwards. It comes second only to putting a knitting needle in your lughole and giving the end a sharp tap as an easy way to get a perforated eardrum but I have half a dozen friends who breathe for this kind of thing. Whatever my tastes I have only one criteria that I need to sate when watching any band: that each member believes 200% in what they are doing and shows it, and in this area the torches get a green light, in particular singer, Chas, whose discordant Cobain yowl and grimace, as if the mike is a sulphuric lollipop, cuts through the lyrics like a rusty saw, setting your pitch sensors on edge.
Tonight the set was so full of feedback as to make it the fifth member of the band, a situation surely not helped by the constant banal need to masturbate the guitar strings on all the stage hardware before trying to knock two foot off the necks into the floor, usually an early sign that the ideas are starting to dry up. Anyone can play those guitars, which reminds me that their support gig to Radiohead recently was far better and showed they can rise to the occasion, justifying Jon Greenwood's name drop in the Melody Maker... Creeps!
Going from complete indescision to unabashed endorsement. The Nubiles are one of my favourite bands of the moment. Forget 200%, how about 500% belief? They have it. This is one Mad Max of a vehicle they've hot-wired back from the future and made into an original 'special'. The chassis is The Jam circa 'News of the World'/'Start' with Georgio Curcetti's razor guitar and Tara's pummelling bass as welded on shrapnel from some Clash/Stranglers blowout, bolt on bits of Bowie, early Costello and early sixties riffs, some 'Achtung Baby' ,an engine that drums with mallets and fire up this archaos with Penny Schueller's blistering FX guitar work that takes the slow boiling post-punk format and has you believe an underground train is de-railing at 100mph.
Tara breaks the nose of each song, headbutting the acerbic message of 'Terminal Disease'. 'Mother and Father', 'Tatjana', 'Saps guide to Rock 'n' Roll', 'Best Friends' and 'Chasing 10' while sweating like a stick of nitro. And boy does he sweat. We're talking shower caps in the front two rows. Oh, and mentioning style, just where else would you see a guitarist and a designer suit and pearl kneclaces singing ace harmonies? Cool! Underneath all the wild-eyed surface there are some beautiful music moments lurking, as in 'Cerebral Movies' and they then slow it down to just working bass and pressure cooking whispers at the drop of the proverbial.
Tougher new songs are primed for the end of September which is bloody amazing since this et already has more bollocks in it than Dennis Nielsen's waste pipe. Go see them! This is genuine. This is New wave 2 and they are going to be rather large... Mummy.
|Abuse Fanzine Live Review
High Town Receration Centre, Luton
It has taken me three times to really, really get into the Nubiles. Tonight, oh boy they got to me. Tonight they really were very special. I admit, I was hoping for another 5:30. Orange Deluxe bored me, so I haven't been back. The Nubiles seem to play every other day. So you really have no excuse to check them out. I mean I have. Tara Milton was in 5:30. He played bass and sang. The Nubiles is his baby. He still plays bass and sings, but he is the main man. There are four or five beered up locals down the front, going ape shit mental. There is a half naked man in the middle, doing a spot of weird dancing. The beered up locals want to shake the hand of Tara after every song. The half naked man dances all the time. It all seems to make a lot of sense, the Nubiles are a mixture of ideas. God knows what they are really about. I personally, for now anyway, don't want to, or care. Once you really like what they are doing, your inner soul starts dancing, your mind explodes and your head will not stand still. I guess it is sort of similar to the magic eye thing.
I am not a fan of the keyboard. Tonight I didn't hear it! Tara still plays the bass like the devil. Funk(y) as Punk. The drummer, at last shines. He now hits the drums like he means it, the funny looking chap on the guitar is getting into it these days, the small other guitarist goes ape. They are still getting there, but tonight they got there. For me anyway. Sure they sound quite punky. They are not a Mod band, as some claim. Very musical. Getting tighter. I don't know. The song MC Black Sheep is a sort of rap-funky/punky sort of thing! Also Layabout could be featured in the 1994 version of the Rocky Horror Show!! Make of that, what you will. The Nubiles are going to develop into something very special.