From Nursery to Misery crawl back to Dark Entries with Tree Spirits, the follow up to 2017’s Pixies In The Woods. The project was founded in 1987, when producer and keyboardist Lee Stevens invited identical twins Gina and Tina Fear over to record in his home studio in Basildon, Essex. Four years of prodigious studio experimentation followed, resulting in two full length cassettes (1989’s The Oak Tree and 1990’s Equilibrium), and a split EP with Nostalgie Eternelle in 1990. Stalwarts of the Mail Art scene, they also appeared on over 22 cassette compilations, home-dubbed in true DIY fashion, before splitting in 1991.
The eleven tracks on Tree Spirits display From Nursery to Misery’s signatures: chunky drum machine patterns, playfully eerie synth melodies, and Tina and Gina’s stark, nursery rhyme-esque vocals. The lyrical content ranges from dreary to grim; they explore existential despair, sexual violence, and death through an acerbic, feminist lens. Inspired by the Bladerunner soundtrack and 4AD, Lee’s production is alternatingly warm and icy, like a glacier wrapped in analog tape hiss. Stylistically, the tracks range from charmingly miserable synth pop on “Cry Me”, to the clanging rhythmic industrial of “The Daily Raper”, and even a haunting flute driven instrumental with “A Summer Morning Trip Through The Misty Woods”. From Nursery to Misery are a pure expression of the British DIY aesthetic, which is made all the more captivating by the band’s own confession that they were just trying to make pop music!
All songs on Tree Spirits were remastered by George Horn at Fantasy Studios. The cover art by Eloise Leigh features a photograph of the twins posing dramatically in the woods.