Nephu Huzzband - Elementary

Anthony Page 03/11/2009

Rating: 4/5

You know they say you shouldn't judge a book by its cover? The same applies to bands and their name. Nephu Huzzband are proof of this - when I first got the album I'll admit I wasn't full of joy at the prospects of listening to it, the name seemed to suggest some Goth band stuck in the 80s, obsessed by bands like Bauhaus. I'm incredibly pleased to say this Nottingham four piece are no such thing, owing more to 80s hardcore than any heavily made up Goth band.

Elementary is the debut studio album from Nephu Huzzband following on from last year's live album, which apparently won best live album of 2008 at something called the Music Producers Guild Awards. If the live album is half as incendiary and attention grabbing as Elementary, it's easy to see why they won the award. From the start, the album grabs you by the throat and refuses to let go till its over. Their music shows the influence of bands like The Dead Kennedys, At The Drive In, Big Black and Fugazi, but minus the over earnest straight edge sound that I've always found annoying with Fugazi.

Of all their influences, though, the one that stands out most is …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. Like The Trail of Dead, they inject an arty feel to a host of their songs, pushing them above any sort of hardcore pastiche to a totally different musical plane. Like Trail Of The Dead they're not afraid to leave the art aside and go straight for the jugular with intense, fast, angry songs of only two minutes or less popping up all through the album. Though the Trail Of Dead influence is obvious, that's not to say Nephu Huzzband are mere copycats. Elementary is the calling card of a band intent on ripping up the rule book and mining their own paths and just like Madonna by Trail of The Dead, it is the sign of a band you ignore at your peril.

Thankfully their efforts so far haven't been wasted, gaining praise from Art Rocker, The Fly, BBC6 Music, XFM and Huw Stevens on Radio1, as well as video play on MTV2, and a 30 minute documentary on the band airing on channel 195, whatever that maybe. More than just a UK Trail Of The Dead, Nephu Huzzband are a band who demand attention, its just a shame about the name.