Folk and punk may seem a bizarre match, but they're a perfect marriage. They're both about belief, emotion and bags of power. The Bad Shepherds make it all look easy; I know damn well it's not.
This is bright folk-pop from a reformed New York City garage scene band that recorded but never released an album of new material a decade ago.
The Optic Nerve put out a couple of jangle-pop albums in the ‘80s (on Screaming Apple and Get Hip) and A side “Penelope Tuesday” is in the same folky vein. When Bobby Belfiore (lead vocals) and guitarist Tony Matura lock together harmonically, it’s sunny enough to make you reach for your sunglasses. Think of The Optic Nerve as the opposite of most of the wave of revival '60s garage rock. They owe more to The Charlatans than the Music Machine.
The flipside “Here To Stay” is more downbeat with Byrds-style vocalising and Bay Area six-string jangle that makes way for a nice tremolo lead break. It's like the early Haight-Ashbury got sold and transplanted to Brooklyn. You'll find a copy on State Records where all the best freakbeat and garage rock 45's live.
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“Touched” LP is this six-piece Wollongong band’s second full studio album release in eight years. Their last long player (“Devil at My Door”) passed by the Bar without dropping in for a beer, so I’m not up-to-speed with everything that’s occurred along the way.
The thing I know is that there’s a marked difference between “Touched” and the early “Guide To Sedation & Isolation” EP, so let’s focus on that.