Under Review

Under Review: Stimuloso, Kamikaze Nurse

Marcus Fung

A combination of the word “stimulus” and the Spanish suffix “-oso”, Stimuloso does not fail to deliver what its title entails. Vancouver based quartet Kamikaze Nurse jumps at you from the get go, and their unrelenting wall of sound does not stop until the last track. Within its compact 38 minute run time, you’re bound to get what the name promises.

Presenting an unlikely mix of shoegaze, post-rock, dream pop, and spoken word, Kamikaze Nurse does not shy away from blending genres, the result: a record that dizzies the head and shocks the system. Spearheaded by lead singer and guitarist KC Wei, their vocals jump from a soft serenade to animalistic yelps, showing a massive range of unpredictable deliveries. Along with guitarist Ethan Reyes, their combined efforts on the guitar provide the proper backdrop needed for the vocals to have a full impact. Take the track “Work + Days:” The guitars can be best described as sounding like a Kurt Cobain instrument-smashing episode (and I mean that in the best way), providing a fitting accompaniment to the howls and maniacal laughter heard throughout it. The stand out for me, however, was the rhythm section. Drummer John Brennan’s tight, unwavering beats throughout the album never ceased to impress. The basswork by Sonya Eui, consistently creative and unconventional, made me audibly go “Damn!” multiple times, always elevating the tracks to a new level.

Each member’s contribution culminates in an imposing wall of sound that rattles the mind. However, Stimuloso can feel repetitive at points — except for the distinctive opening and closing tracks, the bulk of the album feels like it’s the same idea repeated, despite its extensive vocal and instrumental range . It certainly isn’t a bad idea, but after a couple tracks of the same driving drumbeat and dissonant guitars, it’s bound to lose some of its punch. To maintain the momentum they established at the start, the band would’ve done well to switch up the formula a bit.

Nonetheless, Stimuloso is a welcome progression from Kamikaze Nurse’s 2019 LP Bucky Fleur, forming a more cohesive and enticing project than the last, by way of bands like Sonic Youth, The Pixies, and My Bloody Valentine. The end result, although a bit sluggish at times, elicits a cathartic, almost primal sound that’s gonna leave a mark.

— Marcus Fung