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Nurse and Soldier 

Marginalia (Brah)

Wednesday, Jan 24 2007
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Those who are familiar with the pounding, hypnotic nouveau-Krautrock of Brooklyn's Oneida probably never imagined the band to have a softer side. The last two Oneida albums provided helpful clues, though, as the group's furious riff pummeling was interspersed with some downright halcyon moments (yes, string sections were occasionally involved).

Oneida member Bobby Matador, nee Robertson Thatcher, has been holding down the dream-drones for a few years now, moonlighting as Nurse and Soldier with musical partner Erica Fletcher. The pair trade off vocals over a lightly humming backdrop of keys, samples, and guitars on their latest release, Marginalia, out on Oneida's Brah imprint. The album is a lovely and subtly psychedelic affair, driven forward by persistently fuzzy tunes like the throbbing "Capture the Flag." There are hints of Oneida all over these songs, especially when drummer Kid Millions lends his distinctive percussive carnage to the rollicking "Brought Up Too Soon." But this familiarity only buttresses Nurse and Soldier's warm, shimmering psyche-pop. While a sense of experimentation looms large, the disc isn't so out there as to abandon solid indie rock song structure completely; in some ways, Marginalia is more conventional than your typical Oneida record. Still, songs like the Casio dub of "Back in Yr Corner" and the lo-fi Rainer Maria singsong of "Satellightning" showcase the decidedly free-form spirit of these two musicians, who are willing to throw a bunch of ideas at the wall and see what sticks. — Jonah Flicker

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Jonah Flicker

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