Two years on from the release of their debut EP we’re taking a quick look back at the musical evolution of Derby death-surf trio Unqualified Nurse Band.
Originally the solo project of Chris Jones it wasn’t long before Unqualified Nurse became a three-piece Band with Andrew Foster and Mark Jones completing the line-up. Having all worked together before (Ghost Twins, Crushing Blows) it is no surprise they became so musically tight so quickly, releasing a debut four-track EP (recorded at Derby’s SNUG Recording Company) Dilemma Blues in January 2016.
It was this release that Sarah got into at Louder Than War and passed to Pete for his weekly show on Radio Andra. It was a no brainer that they were one of the band’s we wanted on our first Six Impossible Things show. Having heard such good things about their local shows this was the first chance either of us had to see them live and its fair to say, without any hyperbole, they exceeded every expectation.
With Dilemma Blues the band were a pure ball of furious energy, which was even more impressive live. Often improvised sets the band would blast through up to twelve tracks in a 20 minute set leaving the listener slack-jawed with awe and often with a touch of envy too. This band were putting everything into their sound but the music seemed effortless while also considered.
Getting out of the gate with the EP and a heavy gigging rotation had them gaining the velocity needed to blow apart 60 years of rock n roll with their first full length, Debasement Tapes, release just nine months after they first appeared. Their first release with us at Reckless Yes (and only our second as a label) this was an astounding and raw record taking precision hits at so many genres and melting the pieces back together as their own. Or as Pete so eloquently put it, “I will piss in the sink of anyone who doesn’t agree this is the best rock n roll record of the decade.”
This record sounds like so much and sounds like nothing else at all – still with the fury of garage rock and with boundless energy etched through its groove Sarah said of them at the time, “a quite frankly astonishing band so embedded in rock n roll history they’re able to tear it up and start again.”
Reviews were hugely positive for the record but no sooner was it out than they were onto creating what came next. There is no standing still with this band, no hanging about and certainly no truck with the old-fashioned notion of slow and steady campaigns. By early 2017 they had made a double-A single for release through the Too Pure Singles Club and found themselves scratching the outer reaches of the chart with it (Number 74 as it goes).
But recording was already getting underway for album two, what was quickly to become Trashland, released exactly a year after their first LP. No less astonishing – in fact even more so – for this refined their take on rock n roll history and focused on the purpose of an album, the flow of songs across the two sides, the concept and circularity of a collection of song.
Loud and Quiet got a hold of a difficult beast, one which you feel so large you’re only ever seeing a part of it and not really understanding the whole, with their review: “Trashland is energetic, rampant, exciting rock n roll, as UNB spend their second time around fusing ’60s girl groups, late ’70s punk, ’80s new wave and ’90s grunge into a multi-headed fantastic beast”.
With new music already taking shape – look out for a single in the next few weeks as a starter – we’re strapped in and ready for the next phase in the evolution of one of the most prolific bands on our roster. In this case the speed at which they write, record and release music takes nothing from the quality – thoughtful around their sound, considered around where they’re coming from, but most of all focused on where they are going to.
Unqualified Nurse Band deserve to keep growing their audience, and with new music already taking shape – look out for a single in the next few weeks as a starter – we’re strapped in and ready for the next phase in the evolution of one of the most prolific bands on our roster, a band that as music fans we fall more in love with every listen.