Four Against Fate

LP £19.00 Exc VAT: £15.83
  • SKU: PICI0024LP
  • UPC: 0076625972411
  • Release Date: 22 May 2020


Label Review. 

2020 album. Indie. Also available on CD

Our Overview. 

Hailing from Birmingham, England and spawned in the punk scene of the late 1970s as The Prefects whose claim to fame was as one of the support acts on The Clash’s ‘White Riot Tour’ in early 1977 - four members of that band became Nightingales in 1979. An air of the unsettled is a staple of leader Robert Lloyd’s career, from The Prefects’s dank dexterity and jittery paranoia of the first Nightingales’ single, “Idiot Strength”, onward through four decades of top-notch recordings. If the unique persona of Lloyd and crew always came across on their ten albums and countless line-ups, it was largely as an acquired taste of the musical cognoscenti. Labels good and bad seemed to feel, at one point or another, a public duty and a point of pride to release a Nightingales album before returning to the business of business.

Their new album ‘Four Against Fate’ is the work of what’s now the band’s longest-serving line-up. The instrumental precision of any version of Nightingales has been one of the band’s defining hallmarks, but the psychic interplay of a group can take a few albums to kick in with full majesty - here’s proof of that. The rhythm section of Fliss Kitson and Andi Schmid functions now on a purely intuitive level. Jim Smith’s work now ranks with that of any guitarist in modern ‘rock’ music, not just in originality, but also across an egalitarian mass of inspiration. Each member sings. Although Robert’s voice functions as the band’s superego, Fliss takes lead in several songs.

Few bands today sound as much like a single unit as do Nightingales, but this group has the bonus of a distinct and credible musical language, exemplified by “The Desperate Quartet”, which comes across as both a medieval war march and the anthem of looming apocalypse. When at the song’s halfway point, American classical musician Clara Kebabian’s violin and Mark Bedford’s (of Madness) double bass overtake the Robert, Fliss, Jim and Andi, it’s a jawdropper of such intense perversity that it alone defies the listener to not play the album again from the start. Not that this album lacks ‘hits’ - “The Top Shelf”, “Everything Everywhere All Of The Time”, “Devil’s Due” and “The Other Side” are stunners. Robert claims ‘Four Against Fate’ is the first of his albums on which he skips no tracks on playback! Finally, the world has awakened to one of British music’s last treasures.

Tracklisting: Thicko Rides Again / The Top Shelf / Neverender / Wicked Winter (Lost In Highland Park) / Then I Felt / The End Began Somewhere / Devil’s Due / Everything, Everywhere, All Of The Time / The Other Side / On The Make / Simple Soul / The Desperate Quartet