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Boomkat Product Review:
Manchester's Julie Campbell releases her debut full-length via Warp, having built up momentum with singles 'Immaterial' and 'Intuition'. While the tone of the album doesn't deviate too far from what these singles revealed it does favourably flesh out Lonelady's musical persona. It's truly painful to have to compare yet another new Manchester artist to a bunch of old Manchester artists, but Factory Records references do seem to be recurrent throughout the record. In this instance that's no bad thing, and tracks like 'Army' really hit the right spot with their nods to Martin Hannett's trademark sound. Beyond Factory, Nerve Up is crammed with references to no-wave and the early days of electronically-assisted pop music, and the album's stripped back sound reflects the primal driving force behind it's raw, deconstructed songwriting. The crisp production is excellent and the absence of basslines proves to be an unexpected virtue, leaving the curvature of low-end drum machine pulses to represent the bottom rungs of the frequency spectrum. The mix sparkles in part because of this, and the rhythmic, jagged and trebly guitars sound incredibly vivid, while Campbell's vocals occupy plenty of bandwidth themselves. Nerve Up is a kind of ultra hi-fi rendering of a lo-fi formula, and this approach makes for one of the year's punchiest sounding releases thus far.