Skinny Girl Diet
The Water Rat, London
October 16th 2012
review by Nic Blincoe who has this intriguing looking film out
The Nightingales are well into their fourth decade, and most of the
time front-man Rob Lloyd moves with a dignity that befits his years.
Frankly, he looks like an undertaker, as solid as an oak, dressed in
funereal black, peering over his spectacles. Then he throws an
unexpected shape and, suddenly, heâs brought the punk rock.
Rob Lloyd is an intelligent lyricist and seductive singer. His voice
is deep and resonant, as capable of old-fashioned ballads as
rockabilly. If he has a fault, itâs that his love for forgotten genres
can slip into pastiche. When this happens, the crooning tips into
lounge-lizard mannerisms, while the rockabilly descends into yodels
and hiccups. However, the latest incarnation of the Nightingales seems
to have cured him of bad habits. The sound of this stripped-back band
is sparse enough to give Lloydâs voice room to breathe. At the same
time, it is muscular, musical and experimental. The Nightingales still
reference rockabilly and lounge songs, and Lloyd can still turn in an
unexpected version of âDeeply Dippyâ, but the overall sound is part
Captain Beefheart, part Kraut Rock and part frenetic No Wave punk.
Drummer Fliss Kitson is astonishing: lithe, fast-moving and
intelligent. Bass player Andreas Scmid is also in a current version of
legendary German band Faust and he brings a rolling syncopation and,
by some magical alchemy, a dense full sound. Alan Apperley, who was in
the Prefects with Lloyd back in the days of the White Riot tour, plays
like Robert Quine on steroids (with a PhD in philosophy, Apperley also
thinks like Robert Quineâs uncle Willard Van Orman Quine).
The Nightingales were supported at the Water Rats by Skinny Girl Diet,
a three-piece punk attack force fronted by sixteen-year-old Delilah on
vocals and guitar, fifteen-year-old sister Ursula on vocals and drums,
and cousin Amelia on bass, yelps and shrieks. They are just fantastic.
They ooze punk intensity which they deliver with astonishing
musicality. A song they claim to have written that afternoon changes
speed and direction several times, and is delivered with perfect pitch
and timing. They have echoes of the Slits, and certainly have the
dress sense and style. But their secret is that they bring the power
of Big Black. Delilahâs sultry bored looks, Ursual exuberant joy and
Ameliaâs spiky intensity make them all the more compelling.
Unfortunately they missed the Nightingales. Their was a school trip at
6:00AM the next morning and they had to leave early.