As uncanny and catchy as ever, bar italia’s new single ‘Nurse!’ dissolves and distorts the expected to a superbly synthesised four minutes of soothing melodic bass lines and scratchy guitar riffs.
The elusive London-based trio share their name with the last song on Pulp’s fifth studio album, ‘Different Class’, whose lyrics recount the passing of night and a past self, and the confusion, delight, and apprehension of a new (hungover) day. Throughout the course of bar italia’s prolific two-year output, which includes two albums and an EP released on Dean Blunt’s World Music label as well as several singles, they have leaned well into this reference. Just as Pulp’s ‘Bar Italia’ relates the joy and anxiety of the liminal space between night and day, so too do the band revel in the twisting of sound and reality to capture a tense anxiety at the dawning of something new.
The video for the single shows the trio – comprised of Nina Cristante, Jezmi Tarik Fehmi, and Sam Fenton – sat expressionless outside a cafe as crowds gather and disperse, frequently blocking them from view. Mimicking the look and feel of surveillance footage, the video judders and plays backwards offering fleeting glimpses of a band that excels in keeping its listeners at arms length. Since its inception, bar italia has maintained almost total anonymity; there are no bios or interviews to speak of, photographs are rare, and social media captions consist solely of links to tickets or new releases. This sense of absent presence and disruption seeps into the single’s hypnotic sound which oscillates between Fenton’s intimate breathy vocals to the more tinny, detached ones of Cristante.
Everything this band produces leaves you hooked and winded, like you’re waking up from the most exhilarating whirlwind romance with someone you don’t even know. Thankfully, their recent signing to experimental and alt rock label, Matador Records means the romance is set to continue. Get your fix at one of their run of UK and European headline shows in May, or at a number of festivals this summer including Primavera, Latitude, and End Of The Road.
Photo by Sam Mercer
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