Artist: In The Nursery
Genre: Alternative / Film Score / Soundtrack / Neo Classical
Release Date: 22nd April 2022
Label: ITN Productions
IN THE NURSERY at their core are Sheffield twins Klive and Nigel Humberstone. They’ve been creating music for 40 years and are another band that I’ve known about but for the most part have skirted around the periphery of my musical radar. They have release over 25 albums in that time frame and their blend of cinematic orchestral electronic soundscapes have been used on many films including ‘Interview With A Vampire’, ‘La Femme Nikita’ and ‘Game Of Thrones’. When I was offered the chance to review their new album, ‘Humberstone’ I thought “Let’s see what I have missed in all these years so why not?”
Well, I’ve listened to this album twice now. Once whilst out on a walk and again whilst sitting in my kitchen surfing the internet on my laptop. And on both occasions, I forgot that I was listening to music so intense was the reverie or concentration bubble I was in. What track was I listening to and how long had this album been playing? My ears would tune in and then just tune out. This album was just filler like the music they play in stores as you amble about looking at all the wares. It’s not grabbing me at all, or maybe that’s the point? Maybe the point was to facilitate a memory dive and a day dream session? Its neither irritating or annoying, it just is! It’s as if it’s just an unobtrusive soundtrack to my everyday activities that neither inspires or bores. I’ll tell you what it’s like, it’s like lying on a Lilo in the sea on a not too hot day, staring at the sky blankly as kids scream around you as splashes spray up and outwards from balls thrown and bodies hitting the water’s surface. All this commotion and you don’t notice. Because, you are remembering, reminiscing and pondering.
And I’m not even aware of the tracks individually either. The whole piece just melds into one. Until ‘Cookham Stone (The Painter)’ where the lazy drum snaps and strings break my glassy stare. All I see is leaves on water and Moby’s face surfacing from the depths before sinking again. And ‘Sulcus (The Ploughman)’ which blows an ominous horn at the beginning before becoming less intense towards the end. It’s like you’re on the fastest part of a roller coaster speeding down the incline into a less steep but graceful run to the home straight. ‘Redpits (The Gardener)’ is sparse Alt Rock with furrowed brow fuzzy bass and punchy, almost spat out drumming whilst ‘Suvla Bay (The Cavalryman)’ returns to strings, misty strings and drones which sound like a propeller driven plane humming overhead on a summers day before everything morphs into a slow-motion memory from my summer holidays back in the early 1980s... ‘Centrefire (The Gunsmith)’ starts with punched piano notes and heavy sustained bass in the Alt Rock style as it pushes you along, chirpy single note piano pulls you out of reveries only briefly before the bass pulls you back in again. The final track is ‘A Room At The End Of The Mind (The Jeweller)’. To me this is like a final look back before returning to a frontal gaze. Dreamy sombre strings and sparse bass give the piece a lolling meandering feel. I also get the feel of a fleeting smile on the face as you remember something, you huff, and then it’s gone...
It's at this point that I circle back and have another listen to the beginning of the album. I notice that ‘Emigre (The Dressmaker)’ is Post Punk orchestration, teasingly Industrial with that trademark sneering bass, soft keyboard taps, violin staccato and horns, whilst ‘Ektachrome (The Animator)’ paints a lazy trail for you to follow using shuffled percussion and double bass. ‘Mallards (The storyteller)’ will take you right back to your primary years in an instant if you ever had your mother record her stories for you.
What I get from this is two people who are entering the last phase of their lives and the album is an exercise in getting all their “ducks in order”. It’s time to take stock of what has been and what will never be again. It’s an album to remember the past, those who have gone and to appreciate what is left. That’s why the album is titled ‘Humberstone’. It’s about a journey, their journey. My journey is not the same nor is yours, but ‘Humberstone’ can be listened to and you can daydream, reminisce and put your own “ducks in order” when the time comes.
01. H21 Emigre (The Dressmaker)
02. H43 Ektachrome (The Animator)
03. H29 Underscore (The Apprentice)
04. H24 Mallards(The Storyteller)
05. H57 Cookham Stone (The Painter)
06. H26 Sulcus (The Ploughman)
07. H31 Redpits (The Gardener)
08. H47 Suvla Bay (The Cavalryman)
09. H58 Centrefire (The Gunsmith)
10. H57b A Room At The End Of The Mind (The Jeweller)
Klive Humberstone – Arrangements, Keyboards, Sequencers, Strings
Nigel Humberstone – Arrangements,Keyboards, Sequencers, Strings
David Electrik – Drums on H43 and H57 and additional drums on H21 and H58
Liz Hanks – Cello on H29 and H58
Steve Wright- Trumpet on H43 and H21
Total: 8 / 10