In The Nursery – 1961 (2017)
Right from the opening bars of first track “Until Before After”, its strikingly clear that you’re listening to something quite special. In The Nursery’s latest album, 1961, doesn’t deviate massively from what one might expect from the band, but it does serve as a prime example of what the band are capable of. The cinematic sounds, the dark folk influence, the industrial sound design – all of that is present in abundance on this album. And it all flows together seamlessly, perfectly. This album is a master-craft of controlled musicianship and restrained emotion; something only experience can convey.
The brothers Humberstone have been releasing music as In The Nursery for over 35 years and have amassed two dozen plus releases. They’ve had their music featured in trailers for films such as Interview With A Vampire, Along Came A Spider, Gran Torino and also TV shows Game of Thrones and La Femme Nikita.
Intriguingly, the band are also working as research partners with Professor Annalena Venneri & Dr Mike Shanks from The University of Sheffield, designing immersive binaural recordings, with the goal of creating a serene sound space for people with dementia, aiming to relax, calm, reduce anxiety & agitation, and enhance cognition in patients. The project is called Aprirsi and more information is available online here http://aprirsi.group.shef.ac.uk/
Diving deep into 1961 is a very rewarding experience. The album is based on numerous philosophies and events surrounding the year itself which, coincidentally, is also the year of birth of Klive and Nigel Humberstone. Take for example track two, “Torschlusspanik”, where stylistically, tension and release are used to tell the story of the construction of the Berlin wall. “Pacify” is one of the more energetic songs in the album, In The Nursery’s art of melding orchestral, neo-classical arrangements with dark folk resulting in a beautiful anti-war anthem. The stunning “Prisoner Of Conscience”, featuring longtime collaborator Dolores Marguerite C who first appeared on ITN’s 1987 Trinity EP, sees the vocalist perform a self-penned lament that references Amnesty International’s establishment in 1961, following an article written by its founder Peter Benenson that same year. “The Earth Was Blue” is truly epic in scope and sound, and when you learn that the track is inspired by Yuri Gagarin and Alan Shepard’s space travel endeavours, visualising the astronauts looking down on our planet, the song becomes even more grandiose.
Overall, there is a lot of space and breathing room within this record, making it a far from impenetrable experience; the dark and somber textures lure in the listener to the overall melancholic tone, with repeated listens leading to an even greater love for the album. Incredible. Very highly recommended listening.