Nosferatu D2: We’re Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones On To Block Out The Noise
It’s a great story. Band forms in 2005, calls it a day in 2007; fan puts together tiny label Audio Antihero to release their debut (only) album two years later, when it garners a few rave reviews and a lot of indifference. That was 2009; it’s been re-released, or rather there are more options for buying the thing, and some of the blogs that reviewed it have taken the opportunity to tell us that they haven’t stopped listening to it since they first heard it. A few hint that it would stand up to anything else in the best-of-year lists. At this point the Both Bars On rapid-response team is dispatched to get its ears around the album. Is it worth all this fuss?
Yes. Musically it’s quite distinctive; both lo-fi and complex, raw and subtle, Adam Parker’s astonishing drumming sometimes almost overpowering his brother Ben’s guitar and vocals. Many guitar-drum duos can sound pretty weedy, or have to work to use the space you might expect to be filled with other sounds, but the Parkers obviously had some kind of fraternal telepathy as well as big plans for these songs – they change pace, rattle around and charge off in another direction, providing the dynamism you might expect from a much bigger post-rock outfit. I don’t get half the comparisons that have been made, except maybe Mogwai (sort of), but the DIY approach, inventiveness and vim occasionally reminded me of Minutemen.
But most of all this album offers some of the best lyrics I’ve heard for a long time and more importantly an electrifying delivery of those lyrics – Ben Parker knows when to rant and when to hold your attention with a muttered aside. One of countless examples I could give: on ‘Mojo Top 100’ there’s plenty of fun to be had with the Phil-Collins-sells-his-hearing-to-Satan story, delivered in a tearing hurry, but the payoff for me is the line “Thom Yorke was a hero to most but he never meant that much to me.” The Public Enemy line makes you laugh, but not as much as the muttered “not really” which follows it. Elsewhere there are songs which might tell you something about how much and how little Ben Parker hoped to achieve with this band – wanting goth girls to write dodgy poetry about him (‘Colonel Parker’), but knowing “every band I’ve ever loved has let me down eventually” (‘A Footnote’). It’s not all arch commentary on music, though – pride of place goes to ‘Springsteen’, probably the best song ever written about Croydon but also nailing the frustrations of growing up right… down to the screams at the end. You can’t beat a bit of screaming.
‘Springsteen‘ – Nosferatu D2 – We’re Gonna Walk Around This City With Our Headphones On To Block Out The Noise
So yes, this is a great record and deserves more attention, as does Ben Parker’s new band, Superman Revenge Squad, also producing very interesting music (Adam Parker is apparently drumming in an unnamed math-rock band). No one, including the label, is making anything out of this, which is terrible. As someone noted, the record-buying public shouldn’t be voting.
OK, the name is terrible, and Ben’s delivery might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but this is a real one-off. I insist you head over to Audio Antihero now. The album is available in all kinds of formats for £5.99, and it’s up on Spotify so you’ve got no excuses. Go on!