In founding Swell Maps, the post-punk prefacing Birmingham art-snots, Nikki Sudden and his drumming brother Epic Soundtracks charted new territory for racket and corrosive guitar. But after folding Swell Maps at the dawn of the ’80s, Nikki Sudden plowed through another decade’s worth of terrifically fertile ground. Drawing on his devotion to the Rolling Stones and T. Rex—alongside guitarist Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, plus a cheekily named cohort of British sidemen—Nikki Sudden cut a string of raw, inspired rock ‘n’ roll records, etched with double edged travel melancholia and hard-bitten punk dejection.
The lush second album by Nikki Sudden and Dave Kusworth as Jacobites, 1985’s Robespierre’s Velvet Basement is a decadent and inviting garage, decorated by upfront acoustic guitars and unabashed devotion to Faces, Stones, and the folky young Bolan. Drunk on red wine and shambling through predictions of Brit pop to come, Robespierre’s Velvet Basement , originally planned for four sides of Glass Records vinyl, was pared down to hit a pinnacle of Nikki Sudden’s ’80s oeuvre, a loose and grandly bedraggled portrait of British rock at the crossroads.
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