Last we heard from Nurse with Wound, Steven Stapleton was mining the depths of ’30s swing music, desperately trying (and not entirely succeeding) to find a way to turn it into something ironic and/or difficult. While it seems odd, then, to laud an artist usually referred to as “experimental” for backing away from experiments for the sake of something a little less unexpected, that’s exactly what happens, as The Surveillance Lounge seeps in and takes hold of whatever space you’re hearing it in. The release is almost exactly what we have come to expect from Nurse With Wound: long, spooky soundscapes punctuated by noise, sinister voices, and the occasional rhythm section. Despite the demarcation implied by the presence of four separate tracks, the entire 66-minute album is one piece, in that you’d be hard-pressed to tell any of these pieces from the other. The only exception is, perhaps, “The Golden Age of Telekinesis”, as its second movement contains a building percussive rage structured upon tribal, rhythmic drums, and lots of malicious static. The opener “Close to You” starts out with a few pianos, “The Part of Me Which is That Part in You is Now Dead” proves the most frightening of the bunch with its proclivity for startling the listener, and “Yon Assassin is My Equal” surprises most by making the listener wait for a climax that never really comes. All, however, are dark journeys down untraveled paths, and that is exactly what Stapleton (here with cohort Andrew Liles and Current 93’s David Tibet among others) does best.
Nurse with Wound