Mike Pougounas (vocalist, keyboards, bass, guitar) has been in the Greek scene for quite a while, starting in 1981 with the gothic Flowers Of Romance, Nexus and New Zero God. Nexus had been on a 17 year hiatus, but Pougounas found himself without a project during the Covid lockdowns and decided to resurrect the band and through his friendships, had Greek guitarists Yiannis Drenoyiannis (Anti Troppau Council, Yeah!, Captain Nefos, Sigmatropic) and Michalis Galaios (Ερεβος, Lost Bodies, Mavres Comodies), bass player Michalis Semertzoglon (New Zero God, GAD, Atria) and trumpet player Louis Kontoulis (Stress, De Traces) help him on various tracks to create the album Ninouki, which was released February the 28th, 2022.
Mark Gemini Thwaite aka MGT (Peter Murphy, Gary Numan, Tricky, Spear of Destiny, Theatre of Hate, Mission) contributed guitar on the track “The Words That Got Away“, as well as playing and remixing “You & Me“. “Rhythm Of Life” is mixed by musician/producer John Fryer (This Mortal Coil, Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins, Black Needle Noise) and “Star Thief” was mixed by producer/engineer Steve Whitfield (The Cure, The Mission UK, Terrorvision)….. that is a lot of big names on the one album.
“The Words That Got Away” contains the title for the album. It is bright and joyful with MGT’s guitar work lighting the way. The trumpet melds so well as is not intrusive but rather a warm siren while Pougounas‘ vocals lure us into his world. A hypnotic beginning to “Do You Remember” with eclectic noises and the vocals give a hint of sadness, maybe remorseful about a time long ago. Suddenly the electric guitar breaks though and you are in a sonic place where time is ticking by. I love the start to “Star Thief” with those rhythms. It is bold and has a feel to it of something ancient swelling beneath while the modern music coasts above it. The lyrics capture your imagination in a story about foolish soul. It is beautiful and breathtaking plus reminds me very much of David J (Love And Rock).
“Voyager” does have a space like quality to it, traversing the inky darkness. The spoken words tell us we are but stardust. Psychedelic touches as we become one with the universe in a constant stream of consciousness. This MGT remix of “You & Me” is surprisingly on the more electronic side and the guitar work light and non-invasive. This track pumps along, not caring if anyone else is listening. It song is just for you, a sweet sentiment that time should not weary love. Some people seem to be able convey themselves into a track and John Fryer is definitely one of those people. “Rhythm Of Life” remix just oozes his touch with the glitching fuzzy tones and plumbing depths with electronics. The organic meets the stellar cool. “Turn Me On/Turn Me Off” is the last track is probably the most conventional post punk song with it’s riotous vocals and lashings of guitar, that set a merry pace towards the end.
Ninouki is a mixture of what was, what could be and what we shall become in the future. It all seems to tie into the theme of space and time, that we mere mortals are made of the same stuff of stars and return to dust…… so enjoy it while you can. Pougounas effortless flows from singing to dramatic spoken words, giving each track a nuance and capturing a moment. There are the the more rock aspects, mixed with the electronic and verbal artistry that make this new album from Nexus so easy to listen to, so 17 years have been worth the wait.