The Nips' cd The Tits of Soho - Only the End of The Beginning is an all encompassing 67 minute cd which contains every single they put out, as well as studio demos and live recordings. For me, I have been wondering for many years what The Nips sounded like, beyond the handful of songs I heard on compilations like The Indie Scene 78 and This Is Mod Volume 1. So it's nothing short of pure excitement to finally be able to hear this cd collection.
The Nips began in mid-1977 as The Nipple Erectors. They eventually shortened their name to The Nips once the embarrassment of their original name had set in. The Nips were Shane McGowan’s first band, before he had The Pogues, and they released 4 7 inch single between 1978-81. The Nips had an interesting sound which combined a teddy boy rockabilly style and R&B inspired ravers. In fact, they never really had the chance to settle into one sound which is a bit of a shame. But it does create an interesting variety mix.
The first single starts out with King Of The Bop, which has that retro rockabilly sound, even including reverb on the vocals. It's b-side, Nervous Wreck has what would eventually become the sounds of Oi! and is even better.
The second single A-side has the incredible R&B rave-up All the Time in the World, which has been a favorite of mine ever since I heard it on The Indie Scene 78 compilation. Private Eye, the b-side to the second single could be on a Revillos' album.
Gabrielle, the 3rd single changes gears for a more commercial sound a la Joe Jackson, and while it comes up short in the hit potential department, it's actually a mighty fine slab of pop. It's b-side, Vengeance is a bit more of a retro tune, but still with the poppy sensibility.
The 4th and final Nips single was produced by none other than Paul Weller of The Jam, who was a big fan of The Nips. Even though The Nips had no luck with this final single on the British charts, it's definitely their most fully realized single. Happy Song has a pounding Mod sound and I Don't Want Nobody to Love could well be a lost Buzzcocks' tune.
Along with these 4 single sides, we are treated to the studio demos So Pissed Off and Stavordale RD, N5. These are both great lost recordings. So Pissed Off has some great lyrics and British accented vocals and Stavordale RD, N5 has some phasered drums and off-kilter melodies coupled with another very British sounding lyric.
The Tits of Soho - Only the End of The Beginning also includes 14 live songs recorded around 1980. While these live tracks are rough around the edges, they certainly add some depth to our Nips listening experience. It's a shame that my favorite live songs are the last two - Hit Parade and Can't Say No - which both have a more modern rock sound a la Joy Division. Sad to say though that these must've been recorded at a different show than the rest of the tracks however, as the sound quality is even more dire than the already poor but adequate live sound. It's a shame that some of the songs found here that were not released on 45, were never recorded in the studio. The studio tracks found here are definitely the reason to pick this Nips' cd up.