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Nife – Chemicals (Review)

Nife, Chemicals

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

NIFE are a female fronted three-piece rock band from London via Austria and Bath who describe themselves as ‘60s psych meets Krautrock in a classic rock casing’.

Their debut album, Chemicals, is a self-indulgent affair that ticks all of those boxes. But while occasionally thrilling, it’s also occasionally bloated. Several tracks go on for far too long, even though the guitar work is often quite good.

By their own admission, their music is designed to reflect their many and varied influences, so there’s ‘90s grunge mixed in with distorted electric guitars and nods to everyone from Faust and Neu to Hendrix, Free, PR Harvey and even the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

It’s arguably at its strongest when keeping things sharp and snappy, as with album opener and lead singer Chemicals, which showcases nicely melodic guitars, powerhouse vocals from Nicky and a chorus that invites a little “woo hoo”-ing whenever played live. It has an art rock quality about it but manages to remain radio friendly too, with some excellent guitar work providing a thrilling finale that smacks of the classic rock values the band is seeking to honour.

The riffs are heavy and more Hendrix on Information Overload but, sadly, the song itself drags a bit, despite being one of the shortest on the album. But Dregs enlivens proceedings again with some killer guitar work and a nicely restrained vocal from Nicky that helps mix up the tempos, while Silence is high on melody and rousing rock principles.

Happy Birthday, too, is nicely upbeat so as to deliver a feel-good driving anthem that’s reminiscent, guitar-wise of Jesus & Mary Chain, with some lush female vocals to support.

But elsewhere, the album sometimes gets a little over-indulgent, especially when trying to channel the more psychedelic and/or experimental leanings of some of the ‘70s acts they’re trying to emulate.

Slow Motion Accidents takes a little too long to get going and feels bloated at almost eight minutes, despite the presence of some good guitar work throughout, and album closer If I Was Good suffers from the same criticism, despite a solid outro that, again, showcases this band’s guitar prowess.

Overall, though, it’s good to have a band like Nife around, which boasts a strong female presence as well as a well realised appreciation for classic song-writing that spans several generations. They may not always satisfy but their intentions are in the right place and they are high on quality.

One suspects things will continue to get better too.

Download picks: Chemicals, Dregs, Happy Birthday, Freaks

Track listing:

  1. Chemicals
  2. Information Overload
  3. Dregs
  4. Silence
  5. Slow Motion Accidents
  6. Happy Birthday
  7. Freaks
  8. Pretty Girls
  9. If I Was Good