LoneLady - Nerve Up (Cover Artwork)


Nerve Up (2010)


LoneLady, aka Julie Campbell, takes a sound, already an afterthought from the early 2000s, and reinvents it for herself with welcoming grace and subtlety. Remember the post-punk revival from not too long ago? Bands like Interpol, Bloc Party and the Rapture seemed to come out of nowhere and capture everyone for brief moments before fading off into the ether. A few stayed on and progressed with great ambition and worthwhile efforts like the Walkmen and the National, but for most they couldn't seem to quite grasp the ever changing world of music.

LoneLady comes from Manchester, where the scene really sprang forth from the gutters and streets of the U.K. Her debut album, Nerve Up, relishes more in the source than blatantly rip off like her peers. (e.g., she doesn't try to sound like freekin' Joy Division or Public Image.) There is coldness here. A bleakness that can only be heard from listening to those nice post-punk guitar plucks. The music is more akin to long time greats Gang of Four, but without the angry atmosphere. There is even a distant sound that reminded me of Björk's old punk band, KUKL. At the heart though, is a mellower, more reflective side. Campbell sings with a thoughtful voice, but one of longing, aching. Songs like the title track and "Marble" groove on with insightful lyrics of a very personal matter, but let's not forget the post that is punk. A few numbers like "Intuition" and "Early the Hast Comes" are speedy, catchy songs that feel scatterbrained and have a minimalistic design. Even a track like "Immaterial" has the capacity to move one's body like as if you were in some dirty gothic club in the '80s. The feeling, though, is punk. Punk at its rawest and freshest. (Iceage is doing this too, but often get slammed for it. Why the hate?)

The overall sound of the album is bare bones. Kind of like a girl, with a guitar, in a cold room, cigarettes ready to be smoked. The detachment to any one particular sound, outside of a few synths, is actually quite nice. It isn't anything more than what it is, and I applaud her for that.

For the few fans out there who like post-punk, check this out. It's a nice bit of music.