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NEDS ATOMIC DUSTBIN - Hibernation   Print  E-mail 
Written by Mark Reed  
Tuesday, 23 May 2006
As if the past decade hadn’t happened…



…. Which is not necessarily any bad thing. If you liked the Neds way back when, you’ll like this. With no risk of musical evolution or dangerous ideas like innovations, the Neds deliver a solid, poppy combination of The Monkees and Husker Du – much like they always did. In fact, one could convincingly say that these songs have been shrinkwrapped in plastic since 1992.


Six years after reforming for erratic and sparse oneoff shows, the Neds – now made of little known act Groundswell, with addition of the Neds rhythm section – return to find themselves horrendously uncool and out of vogue as much as they ever were in the bad old days. Nothing is cool, they reminded us fifteen years ago when their singles made number 22, and they were huge


Hibernation” aptly describes the Neds current stasis : they used to play more shows in a fortnight than they’ve done in the past decade. But does it offer anything new? No. Not in a million years. They’ve picked up the mantle from the moment they put it down in 1995, and carry on as if nothing has changed. “Hibernation” and “Ambush” follow the template of old, heartfelt/human vocals sitting atop a seemingly unstable mass of stuttering bass and teeth-sharpened guitars and relentless drums.


If this was a new band, they could very well be feted as heroes or the latest great white hopes, instead of as minor indie legends trying to claw back on the ladder of the inevitable reunion trail. Which is a shame, because if you peel back the prejudices of big shorts and short songs, “Hibernation” and “Ambush” are the type of songs that, by rights, could and should be ripping open Indie Discos and London Moshpits with a righteous fury. Sadly though, The Neds don’t have wedge haircuts or wear scruffy brown suits. Which kind of shows that sometimes, the music is never about the music.


Everything changes but the Neds. Communism falls, and George Bush gets made president again and Iraq explodes, and the Neds remain, producing songs that sound just like yesteryear. In one way, this means that there is no chance of a disappointing reunion album : they can certainly produce the goods on demand.


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