Some rotter has come round, nicked all the guitars and stuff and left several classical instruments in their stead. Recording session over, right? Not if you’re Nickel Pressing, a French outfit named after a launderette chain. They make do with the remaining equipment for most their debut EP Uncanny, pushing out a pulsating blend of high-octane bowed and plucked strings over standard rock rhythms, the drum kit having evidently been too hefty for the thief.
The opening, kazoo-infused bubbly pop of Beck is Back is lively enough, although frequently sounding like a demented hornet furious it’s trapped in a Coke can. Sexy Picnic – a song title only really forgiveable in France – is rescued by being a sublime yet twisted marriage between Bobbie’s Girl and Pop Muzik, with early 90s-era Cure thrown in for good measure. The following cover of Kraftwerk’s Neon Lights is deftly handled and, clearly, someone’s gone out and replaced the stolen guitars at last. But it’s on track four, Shoes, that the group’s evident love of the slightly surreal comes to the fore. Building quite brilliantly on what’s gone before, the Lyonnaise three-piece reveal a talent for the bizarre on the EP’s strongest track, welding the lyrical weirdness of Stump to a fraught, funky back-beat rescued from the Chemical Brothers’ cutting room floor. They wrap things up in rambunctious style with Quick Fashion, another questionable title for a track that feels for all the world like an encore.
On the whole, it’s patchy, yet there’s enough in here to keep you interested. Some moments are delivered with all the melodic accomplishment of a choir of tone-deaf cats, but when they hit their straps, Nickel Pressing display a mastery of madcap that’s hard to dislike.
- Ben McCormick