The Nails | Hotel for Women (Citybeat)

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The one song responsible for the sales of this album is as good as you remembered.

There’s a reason The Nails were a one-hit wonder. Judging from this rerelease of their classic 1980 album, “88 Lines About 44 Women” is pretty much all they had. The EP itself is just four songs long, but it comes with another 10 bonus tracks—two of which are remixes of “88 Lines.”
To be fair, disc opener “Hotel for Women” isn’t bad. It’s got a bit of a Madness feel to it, ska with some horns and a female (?) vocalist. Up next, “Cutting Edge” is a bit more new wave, with soaring synths and vocals that are half sung, half spoken. With a ska-meets-synth vibe, “Ask the Dust” concludes the original offering. All the influences mean the song hasn’t held up well over the years; it sounds dated and pretty well cobbled together. What should we do here? Don’t feel like playing guitar? Let’s add a horn!
The one song responsible for the sales of the original Hotel for Women is as good as you remembered. Let’s face it, this spoken-word song has been played on more college stereos than many of the other ’80s hits combined. It’s fun to learn, it’s fun to quote, and it’s still fun to listen to.
However, in this day of iTunes single downloads, there is absolutely no reason to purchase this disc. The bonus tracks are that because, until now, they never saw the light of day. We’re back to ska here, yes, but also ’80s wave and ’50s rock ’n’ roll. Aside from one exceedingly memorable song, The Nails quite obviously never knew what sound they were aiming for—which is why, unfortunately, they almost always missed the mark. C- | Laura Hamlett
RIYL: Oingo Boingo, Madness, Art Brut

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