Review Summary: Therapy? major-label debut. Light years ahead of their indy beginnings but the band is still refining and perfecting their sound. While the production is much better than their indie days, listening to it now the album screams for a re-mastering. Provides
Not only the title of the album, but the screaming first lyric to the opening track Nausea. A hard driving classic where Therapy" clearly let the world know "Where not in indie-land anymore". After two raw, and creative, yet-flawed independent EPs, Therapy" moved to the big time, signing to A&M records. 1993's Nurse was the Irish band's major label debut, and to anyone familiar with their indie releases, they've come a long way in a short time. As big a step forward as Nurse is, it is by no means perfect. It can be looked upon as the final transistional record of the band's sound, leading to ultimate perfection in Nurse's follow-up Troublegum.
With Nurse, the band says it's final goodbyes to their more experimental club/industrial tinged material, which was so prevalent on Babyteeth and Pleasure Death, and really bring the guitars to the forefront and unleashed the hooks.
The first hald of the album is classic. It showcases the heavy guitar driven punk/metal sound, that the band is mainly known for today, in the tracks Nausea, Accelerator, Disgracelands and Perversonality. The songs are immediate and effective. They grab ahold and don't let go. The only faults I find with the first half, are the somewhat silly lyrics to Disgracelands, and the main riffs to Neck Freak and Perversonality, which are a little too similar..especially when put back to back. Yet none of these faults cripple the tracks.
A big highlight of Nurse is the concert staple, Teethgrinder. This shows the band perfecting it's indie sound. Here you get the club-hopping drums, and hypnotic bass line with the guitars adding to the thickness by mirroring the bass throughout the verses. Here's also the band's most effective use of samples, with clips of a woman "I'm a teethgrinder...when I sleep I grind my teeth". Unlike some of their early indie material, Teethgrinder doesn't wander. It's tight, on-point, hard charging with enought major-label sheen to make it a classic.
The end of Nurse finds the band losing some of it's focus and reverting to some of their more experimental ways. And like all experiments, not all of them are completely effective. The track Gone, is the bands first ballad (or should I say dirge). While Gone displays some of Andy Cairns most haunting lyrics, "I know about the scars on your arms, I know your baby wasn't born", the music, with it's simple repetitive riff, and slow tempo tends to drone after a while before finally culimating in a nice crescendo. It just took to long to get there.
The final three tracks of the album Zipless, Deep Sleep, and Hypermania, easily could have fit on Pleasure Death. None of them are bad, but neither are they stand-outs. All three have some very interesting moments, especially Fyfe Ewing's world-beat drums on Hypermania, and the raggae inspired groove of Deep Sleep, there's just nothing that grabs hold of you and keeps you there.
Nurse shows a band coming into it's own, musically and lyrically.
There's not a bad track on the album, even when the band wanders there's still something interesting there making it worth the trip. The only major complaint comes from time. The production of the album has not held up as well as some of the band's later work. This is an album that could benefit greatly with a remastering. Listened to on it's own, the production isn't a major issue. But, when mixed in with later work, like in an iPod mix, it becomes obvious. Regardless of the production flaws, the material is just too strong to let that keep it down.
Nurse provides plenty for the devoted fan and casual listener alike.