(2019 - Werf Records -Netherlands)
Their most reflective, capricious, wise with years, and wide range album. This prolific band has evolved over 24 releases, with a bright eyed quirky offset style of pop, always brilliant in composition and arrangement. 'Knot' is tricky with its beginning song lulling the listener into a melancholy frame of mind, thinking the music may all be crawling with a slow pace and sparse way, yet the full audition reveals quite the enchanting forest of topics and atmospheres.
Over four decades, Nits (first called The Nits) have kept the flames burning, and with three core members now still at the helm : Henk Hofstede (vocals, Mellotron, piano), Robert Jan Stips (keyboards [2 PC3 Sound Sources], vocals), and Rob Kloet (drumset, percussion, gran cassa, electronics), with guests Jayne Bordeaux, Sacha de Bruin, Sheena Tchai (backing vocals), and Marieke Boskamp (violin), they have another gem of an album to gift the world. Now famous for their contributions, Paul (recorded and mixed album, plus does sound for their live shows) and brother Tom Telman (lighting for live shows) are also present. Older fans will know R. J. Stips from an overflowing career with the superlative Supersister, a one shot Transister, Buddy Odor Stop, Golden Earring, and many rare and occasional guest spots with other artists. His solos stand out most definitely as well.
All three members have varied work history in the world of music. Their collective talent is overwhelming. From the start of 'Knot', the carousel of imagination continues to turn. Although the music is careful at times, the pieces are developed from three days of total improvisation in the studio, then taking parts of lyrics and music, and remarkably, creating songs that appear as solid as anything the band has ever done. Subject matter is full of imagery, and the compositions speak of more than a table full of stories. The sound is made by three of the most luminous minds that constantly create exact and unique output. The way the trio arrange is also amazing, in that rich and aural world of The Blue Nile, where you can hear every nuance occurring in each song. Fans will also hear echoes of the more delicate tunes from Supersister era. Energetic tracks like 'Machine Machine' (track # 6) remind of older Nits material. 'Dead Rat Ball' (track # 7) will give big smiles to Godley & Creme lovers. It is this variety that keeps you guessing on first listen.
With the wisdom and partly nostalgic stance, the keen sense of content, song order, and supreme musicianship, Nits have won themselves another golden release award. The music keeps getting better and more alive as each cut proceeds. And being captured in a Nits record is always a pleasure. In fact, the magic is almost ghostly throughout. More listens and everyone will become a victim of this group's genius. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
©Reviewed by Lee Henderson 12 - 12 - 2019