Strange, unique, bizarre or whatever you may call them, Flavour Nurse certainly live up to their name. What started as a kind of live theatre group doing wacky shows in London evolved into a working band that got signed, and they released their first single, ‘Side Effects’, in 2018.
The band is comprised of Gaius Black (vocals + guitar), Sobias Sheim (bass), Raven Van Rijn (guitar), and Croon Jackson (drums), and they followed up with their self-titled album at the end of 2021. The 11-track release, described as “arcane rock”, fuses sci-fi/alien themes with that of magic and beyond. Musically, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that zany psychedelia forms part of the sound, but so too do heavy riffs, banging drums, and harmonized vocals. In their own words, the four members:
“make up a dynamic act of Faewarian musicality, elven-like folk from the far reaches of the Celestial Sea, entwining music & magic to raise the vibration of the universe.”
‘Dystopian Galaxy’ is the opener, and it demonstrates the group’s penchant for all things theatrical right off the bat through a tongue-in-cheek, grandiose orchestral introduction. Next up is ‘Majesty’, which was released as a single with a video that has to be seen to be believed. Green-skinned fantasy creatures creep around idyllic English countryside scenes, accompanied by purposefully poor quality visuals for comedic effect. Ghost’s charming harmonies and vocal chants come to mind with the track itself, not to mention the ripping guitar solo by some pirate-looking figure.
Watching the video, you can’t help but admire the niche they’ve carved: while being totally self-aware of how fantastical and ridiculous many of their artistic heroes can be, they indulge fully by effectively taking the piss out of the very thing they love.
Make no mistake though, these are talented players and writers, as evidenced by tracks like ‘A Million Miles (Disappear)’, which travels on glittery and acrobatic guitar work backed up by riding a focused rhythm section. The baritone backing vocals throw in a grungy spice as well. The bluesy and messy ‘Love is the Reason’ recalls Axl Rose with the huge vocal range and greasy guitar leads.
The line genuinely blurs when it comes to just how seriously Flavour Nurse take themselves, but their musical prowess and love of all things ’70s/’80s/’90s aren’t in doubt. Whenever live shows properly return, they will undoubtedly be one to see.