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Nits: Kilo

Album Notes

After the mighty leap forward that was Omsk, the Nits wasted little time in recording the mini-album Kilo, released just six months later. Again, songwriting was divided between Hofstede, Peters, and newcomer Stips, and again Hofstede established himself as an inspired melodist with the dramatically orchestrated "Sketches of Spain" and the wryly nostalgic "Dapper Street" -- a remarkably beautiful song that would now surely be acknowledged as a classic if only it had had the name Elvis Costello attached to it. Unlike Omsk, however, this time the contributions of Peters and Stips measure up to their leader's. Peters' "Bild Am Sonntag (As Usual)," with its tick-tock rhythm underpinning one of the band's rare forays into vocal harmony, is a dreamily ominous song about small-town boredom turning sour. Stips' "Memories Are New (III)" has a languid South American feel buoyed by nylon guitars, vibraphones, and rippling piano, and is only let down by Stips' rather colorless vocals. Oddly, though, it's Hofstede who supplies Kilo's weakest track, the closing "Your Next Tyres," which sounds like a leftover from the band's self-consciously quirky period. The band's production throughout is lush and spacious, with Stips' distinctive multi-layered keyboards providing the illusion of a much bigger band without ever lapsing into the kind of synthesized overkill that makes so many recordings from the early '80s so easy to date and hard to listen to. [Kilo was reissued on CD as a two-fer with the 1986 album Henk.] ~ Christopher Evans


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