The Roches

Nurds

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In another part of the world in 1979, post-punk bands like the Slits and the Raincoats were making prickly, challenging music from a female perspective. Meanwhile, the Roches were working on their sophomore album, Nurds, a likewise prickly and challenging folk-pop album from a group whose ties to Paul Simon and the Greenwich Village folk scene probably cost them some of their potential underground following. Make no mistake, though -- Nurds is a downright arty album in places. It's impossible to listen to the title track without thinking of the Raincoats (assuming you're familiar with the Raincoats), and the lyrics throughout are alternately weird, amusing, and poetic. The harmonies are sweet one moment and dissonant the next, while the subject matter changes in an instant from chocolate to boat people, or to a bizarre in-joke about Suzzy Roche washing clothes at the laundromat. Nurds was a charting album in 1980, and kudos to the Roches for managing to sell this unusual and creative album to the masses.

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