Album Review: Goodnight Nurse - 'Always And Never'

2 April 2007 | 4:24 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

They’re going to have to try a lot harder

To anybody who claims a band can’t get anywhere based on image alone- I present to you New Zealand’s dark punk superheroes Goodnight Nurse. From the spooky art on the front cover and the Alkaline Trio inspired band photo on the back, right through to the deeply troubled song titles like “Suffocating Slow” and “The Massacre Begins Tonight”, this clever trio have got the genre nailed.

Until the music starts. Choir led, church bell backed intro Welcome To Hell sounds ominous and promising, setting things up to really burn, and that’s not to say they don’t….for a while anyway. When the final bell tolls and single My Only sparks to life, it becomes immediately evident that this recording has had some serious time and cash put into it. It’s big and it’s clear and it’s solid as fuck, but somewhere around the twenty second mark, things start to go wrong.  Ok so the opening line is “what happened to you and me?” and it’s got a lot of silly “ohhh-ohhh” backing vocals, but that’s only part of the problem here.

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When Death Goes To Disco happy dances its way onto my speakers, a song that sounds so much like Rock Show by Blink 182 that the line between influence and replication becomes hazy, everything falls into place- this band has absolutely no substance whatsoever. For all the apparent gloom and agony, the songs completely lack backbone.  From here on in it’s hard not to feel like you’re listening to a band who couldn’t quite decide whether to be fun or melancholy, so they tried to go for both, chopping and changing between the two and never really giving the album a chance to solidify.

It’s not to say the songs are not catchy and at times well written, closing ballad All For You even saw me hit repeat a few times, but music takes second place here.  These self proclaimed ‘pop stars with instruments’ are a collage of everything that’s hot right now, gift wrapped in a sound that’s fun and undemanding, fired straight at the heart of the 12-15 year old market, and if the 32,000+ Myspace fans are anything to go by, it’s working ok for them.  But if however, these guys eventually decide to write music that will truly be taken seriously, they’re going to have to try a lot harder.

Cute, but ultimately the dark facade does little to disguise a dull core.

1. Welcome To Hell (Intro)

2. My Only

3. Death Goes To A Disco

4. All Hail the Serpent Queen (Part 1 Of 3 – Trilogy)

5. Take My Hand

6. Loner

7. No Way To Escape

8. Our Song

9. A Shadow and A Praye