Glasgow-based N.S.U. took their name from the Cream song of the same name, which gives you a good indication of how they sound. Turn On, Or Turn Me Down is a very bluesy, often heavy, slightly psychedelic hard rock album that may be patchy but contains moments of greatness.
All the hallmarks of a classic power trio, though occasionally the guitars are doubled up in the studio to nice effect. There are also prominent female backing vocals throughout, giving the album a wider scope.
Things get off to a promising start, with three hard hitters in succession, namely the aforementioned title track, followed by the upbeat His Town and the heavy boogie blast of You Can’t Take It From My Heart. They hit a wall with the dismal Love Talk, a love song that goes nowhere, and from there the album struggles to regain momentum.
There are further cool moments though. All Aboard is a psych-rock pounder, while Stoned is just that. Lead guitarist Ernest Rea is the star, adding glorious flashes of acid-fuzz soloing to otherwise dull tracks such as Pettsie’s Blues. In fact while every member has merit, they sometimes just don’t seem to gel. Whether that’s down to lack of chemistry or rather flat production is difficult to tell.
N.S.U. split up not long after this release. It’s a shame weren’t given more time to develop.
Deep Cuts: Riches from the rock underground
Deep cuts: Riches from the rock underground