Vol. 2

The Nihilist Spasm Band

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Vol. 2 Review

by Fran├žois Couture

Vol. 2 was the Nihilist Spasm Band's second album. Recorded live at the Toronto Music Gallery on February 4, 1978, it was released on the venue's own small imprint, Music Gallery Editions, the same year, a decade after the band's first LP No Record. Vol. 2 had quickly become a rarity until the Japanese label Alchemy Records reissued it on CD in 1996.

The album opens on what would become the Nihilist Spasm Band's anthem, "No Canada." One must understands the NSB doesn't play "songs," each improvisation being unique, but vocalist Bill Exley does reuse his best texts, anchoring the improv into something already known to the seasoned fan. That's how the verse "No Canada/Home of the beaver/Home of the maple leaf/Animals and vegetables" will become a highlight of their show for decades to come. "Stupidity," another "favorite" is also found on this record.

Sound quality is fine, although the reissue has been mastered at very low volume. Vol. 2 is most valuable for being the only album where Bill Exley makes extensive use of (or abuses) the theremin. The band produces a lot of noise and the whole thing ends abruptly with "Elsinore," which sounds truncated at the end. The Alchemy reissue reproduces the original packaging (the musicians' homemade instruments are pictured on the cover) including the 1960s jazz-style back cover with bassist Hugh McIntyre's liner notes. A Japanese-only interview with guitarist John Clement is also included.

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