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Nomad Disco - Pressure Island (self-released)

25 January 2024

Music is cyclical, that’s for sure. And it is fair to say that the cycle runs over about thirty to forty years. Whether consciously or otherwise, that is the time it takes for the music of a previous era to get a foothold in the consciousness of a following generation. Sometimes, it is as simple as kids playing their parent’s old records. Sometimes, it is less tangible, something in the air, an unexplained whiff of nostalgia, a hauntological sonic feeling.

And that explains why there has been a resurgence in 80s sounds pervading today’s music. Sadly, most of it manifests via a retracing of sappy synth sounds and unsatisfying electro-pop, but occasionally, a band such as Nomad Disco comes along, reminding me of the music I grew up with. Because, whilst other 80’s kids were bopping about to Rick Astley, I would be stood in a muddy field wearing a No Nukes t-shirt watching Killing Joke or the like. I mention this because, had Nomad Disco been on that scene, I would have followed them around relentlessly.

I’m not saying that Pressure Island, their latest album plagiarise or plunder those past glories. It comes from a similar place. It is possibly their debut; it’s hard to tell as their online presence is only slightly higher than that of people a year after they have become famous through music TV competitions, i.e. zero. Still, it adds to the mystery; after all, such mystique and dark charisma didn’t hurt bands such as Fields of the Nephilim.

“Napoli” grooves and grinds in equal measure, all strutting, angular sonics, shimmering guitar overtones, and relentless, Cure-esque bass lines and “Coma” pushes things into the proto-gothic world of bands like Bauhaus or the more understated, colder end of Joy Division. “Despair’s” dance meets rock meets punk meets…god knows… rhythms remind me of the aforementioned Killing Joke, and “Torture Room” is a squalling, brooding beast of their own making, epic and menacing.

I don’t want to give the impression with all the name-dropping that Nomad Disco is post-punk by numbers; they are anything but, but I find it easier to convey how great they are by referencing the now iconic bands that I grew up listening to. That said, there is much more here that is fresh than is familiar, but the mix of the two makes you feel like you have uncovered a band you missed back in the day.

As I said, music is cyclical, and if the post-punk sound is about to have another day in the sun via bands like Nomad Disco (great name, by the way), then I, for one, am a happy bunny.

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