Complete Studio Recordings, Inmates in Images
New Zealand indie pop always seemed both familiar and a touch off, as if the country had received batches of Beatles and Velvet Underground records that were just a bit warped, then went on to form bands based on these imperfect sounds. So, if the pop records were so appealingly strange, what would their punk and post-punk sound like?
With Dais records reissue of the Nocturnal Projections’ Complete Studio Recordings, as well as Inmates in Images, a collection of live material, the rest of the world can finally find out.
Formed in 1981 by brothers Peter and Graeme Jefferies, Nocturnal Projections sounds like the best of the then-current UK post-punk scene. Comparisons to Joy Division, especially with the bass-driven propulsion of “Alone in the Corner” are apt, along with some Chameleons and Comsat Angels, and a bit of shimmering Killing Joke-style guitar on “Late Night.” While these comparisons might paint a picture of a grey, somber band, Nocturnal Projections could write a stirring, uplifting chorus, as in “Walk in a Straight Line” or “Alone in a Crowd.” These songs in particular are reminiscent of what a lot of American hardcore bands unsuccessfully attempted when they “grew up” and “learned to play their instruments.”
While not as strangely off as New Zealand’s indie pop, Nocturnal Projections are a band to be filed next to your Joy Divisions and your Chameleons, and possibly next to your late ’80s hardcore records as something to aspire to.