Article by KevW
As with just about anything released on State Records, a label that almost inclusively sticks to the sound of '60s beat groups, putting a date stamp on any of their records can be a stab in the dark. With New York group The Optic Nerve that becomes even more difficult. Originally a part of the '80s garage scene in the city, the only thing they really had in common with their contemporaries was a dislike of the synthesized pop that surrounded them. Their sound was closer to the jangle-pop of bands such as The Byrds. Maybe they'd have fitted in better with the Glasgow scene that was taking shape at the same time. As it was, they only released a brace of singles at the time, with two compilations of demos and other recordings surfacing in the early '90s.
Their determination to adhere to their musical principles can be found on new single 'Penelope Tuesday' and its B-side 'Here To Stay'. What's interesting to note is that neither of these are new recordings, rather they're two tracks that were recorded for an aborted album with a slightly different line-up a decade ago. If this is a taste of what might have been, then we can hope that more from those sessions surface at some point. 'Penelope Tuesday' is a rampant, sunshine-fuelled piece of mid-'60s-style guitar-pop with just enough grit and some sweet harmonies; it's verging on powerpop and is a definite earworm. A little slower and perhaps more folky is 'Here To Stay' which could be from the same era and once again allows those guitars to shine, but this time with softer, dreamier harmonies. The career of The Optic Nerve has been a fractured one, but if they can produce material of this quality then another reunion would be well worth their time.
The Optic Nerve's website
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