This prolific Dutch group started off as a punky quintet with a flair for melodrama and deliberately offbeat quirks, yet was intent on breaking serious artistic ground even then, as the joint Nasmak and Plus Instruments album shows.
The declaration of artistic commitment evidently resulted in the exit of one member and, subsequently, the six Indecent Exposure cassettes, subtitled “The Smell Remains.” Nearly an hour apiece, they show occasional flashes of genuine creativity, but each bogs down in its own self-indulgence. Any resemblance to the Residents is superficial at best; Nasmak lacks the wit and spark of the Unfab Four and seems incapable of humor, even when that’s their intent.
The melodrama remains in the lyrics, as does a punk-derived penchant for stark, punchy bass/drums riffs with spare but nasty guitar and gruff English vocals. Nasmak’s defining characteristic is the way they write songs and then work at denuding them of melody, replacing much of it with sonic spaces and disc(h)ord(s). Intriguing, but still seeking an apt musical voice. The two 1982 discs are the best to sample, since they are leaner and more disciplined, if still a touch misguided.