Home > Bargain > Nurse & Soldier – Marginalia

Nurse & Soldier – Marginalia

Jagjaguwar Records, 2007

There are album covers that grab you right away, and there are album covers that don’t do much of anything.  I felt that despite the utterly plain design of what looks like embroidery and a few letters of interest, this group might be worth a light purchase.  Maybe it was due to the record label, Jagjaguwar, which also released some of the new Dinosaur Jr records.  I’m a big fan of them, though I didn’t know anything of what Jagjaguwar might also have on their roster of releases.

The Boston-based Nurse & Soldier consists Bobby Matador (Oneida) and Erica Fletcher.  Even with just the two of them, the songs sound very full due to layers of guitars and electronic sounds.  This helps make a song noisier when they wish it (“Capture the Flag”) or quite serene (“Satellightning”).  Although both members tend to sing solo more often than not, when they combine their vocals it adds yet another pleasing instrument to their arsenal.

One of my favorite tracks occurs early on in “In the Dark”.  Honestly, I feel that the group sounds like a mix of the poppier side of Brian Eno and earlier Magnetic Fields on the track.  The latter band sound is likely due to Fletcher’s vocals, which sound simultaneously uninterested yet emotional if one listens closely enough. The scratchy, fuzzy guitar meddling in the background nicely adds a little bit of urgency to the song as well, even though its tempo gives the impression of pensiveness.

“Back In Yr Corner” sounds like it should’ve been the college radio anthem of 2007.  It has the twee sound that also doubles as a comforting pop embrace with the constant presence of a warm keyboard sound.  That twee sound only shows up after a somewhat moody tempo begins the song, so the combination of twee and moody really seems to work here.  Along with Fletcher holding some higher notes and the duo dishing out a few “ohh ooh ohh ooh oh-oh”s, it is a rather infectious song.

As for other tunes I like, “North of Baltimore” gives off the impression of being a Galaxie 500 song that didn’t make the cut due to not being sparse enough.  It’s a great song with Fletcher’s lilting vocals chiming in nicely amidst the engaging guitar work.  The band isn’t all quiet and nice, as “Lies & Alterations” picks up into more of a light pop rock sound that reminds me a little bit of those indie nineties bands.  “Brought Up Too Soon” is as fast as Nurse & Soldier get with its lone fast track.  Even when momentarily quicker in pace, Nurse & Soldier still come across as enjoyably pop.

Though there hasn’t been much regarding updates, one can still try and catch up with what Nurse & Soldier are up to on their website.  They also have a few songs to listen to on MySpace.

So yeah, I’m definitely glad I took a chance on the plain album!  As for Nurse & Soldier, the duo hasn’t released anything since this record and it sounds like they’re quite busy raising their child.  I imagine, though, that as the little one ages this group is far from done.  This is what I hope, for I think this sound could really win over quite a few indie music fans.

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