Walking Past

by Jason Hoffman Walking Past
“Nurse” isn’t exactly a name that conjures up a band that chugs through AC/DC covers, which is appropriate, because Walking Past, the debut album by Nurse, isn’t an AC/DC kind of album. Instead, their songs take a more reflective turn, exchanging lyrics of the rock n’ roll basics for thoughtful ruminations and three chord rockers for moody, complex musical landscapes.

Recorded at Monastic Chambers, Walking Past is an album that takes its time in growing on you, much like the casual pacing of the songs themselves. These 10 tracks span an impressive 52 minutes. Crack out your calculator and you’ll find that most of these songs stretch over the five-minute mark. Another prog-like tendency of this band is their love of shaking things up by throwing in an odd meter in the bridge or final fade.

But that’s where any similarity to that genre ends. Instead, the songs sport a very melodic, radio-friendly, 90s indie vibe in the vein of Bush with a dash of Better Than Ezra.

There are many surprises throughout the album. “You Don’t Know Alone” begins with a quietly throbbing bass and slowly builds to a fevered, anguished pitch. Yes, it’s been done a million times before, but Nurse do it very well. The very singable “Revolver” encompasses shack-loads of great bass and ends with polyphonic vocal parts. In “Zero Is For Progress” Nurse take a standard “once bitten, twice shy” song and add a bit of depth with lines such as “I’ll recall your double-edged heart / and what it shows when / when I find your hair / and smell you in my clothes.” The dramatic and moving “Veil” incorporates vocals, a grand piano, cello, violin and nothing else, making the song strand out for its soaring yet lonely sound. “Years Will Be Lost” is an atmospheric, minimalist, New Age song with keyboards repeating a tubular bell figure with inventive guitar tones underneath, leading to the finale, “Crispy Apple Lies,” another quiet, near-creepy song of whispered vocals in two-part harmony, leaving the listener in the misty shadows of calming darkness.

Houston Smith, Jon Sholl (who plays the Chapman stick - impressive!), Drew Etienne and Jake McGrew have concocted an enticing album that is equally commercial and artsy. While not everyone will like the medicine that Nurse are handing out, those that do will need to be careful not to overdose on Walking Past.

Copyright 2005 Ad Media Inc.