CD Track List

1. Intravenous: 8:00
2. Two Shaves and a Shine (concerto for bouzouki and 3 piece rock group in 93 six second segments): 9:48
3. The Penis Fruit Loop: 25:23
4. Lunar Cement Sidewalk: 10:38
5. Mummer's Little Weeper: 5:44

Nurse With Wound's 1999 album An Awkward Pause is unlike anything else I have encountered in their expansive discography, but like most of the band’s work, it is excellent. It is in fact one of my favorite albums. Steven Stapleton is an eccentric genius. Surprisingly for these purveyors of surreal insanity, it prominently features guitars, and even an honest-to-goodness song. It would therefore make a good introduction to the band.

Don’t think that this is going to be some walk in Easy Listening Park, though. The music is still challenging and brilliantly strange. Intravenous is built of jangling guitar and fluttering noises that build up throughout the song, occasionally combining to produce melodies and rhythms that fall apart soon after forming. The second track is incredibly fun. David Tibet of Current 93 lets loose a hilarious, disturbing rant at the beginning of the song. Throughout, a single melodic theme is worked over in each of the 93 six second segments first by the bass, then the rest of the rock group, and most enjoyably by the bouzouki. In The Penis Fruit Loop, drones, soundscapes, more absurdist vocals, enthusiastically played noisy jazz-rock, a foghorn playing Oh Susanna, and many other indescribable things mix, and the result isn’t pretty. It's fascinating and almost frightening in its oddness. The next two tracks relax into pretty ambient pieces. Lunar Cement Sidewalk features a lovely acoustic guitar melody in the middle of some deep drones. The album ends with birdsong, pointing the listener’s way back from the depths of the music into the surrounding reality.

One should note that on the vinyl release (which I am not familiar with) of An Awkward Pause comes as two LPs, the second of which is labeled A Shoe Fly Debris Situation. Intravenous and Mummer’s Little Weeper are not on the first LP, but appear as remixes on the second. Not for everyone, but for those who appreciate aural oddity.

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