4/5 | Download it at: The Nico Blues
It’s there in the fuzzed up riff of album opener, Three’s A Crowd. It’s definitely there in the searing vocals of singer Eric Goldberg and his counterpart Evan Campbell. It’s there, too, in the reverb soaked anthemic final cut, Adjust Accordingly.
In fact, the whole of new album from The Nico Blues is run through with it: alternative rock pedigree.
These five from North Jersey may be based on the east coast, but their sound is likely to take you straight back to the west coast at the height of the alternative explosion. At one point during Unprofessional, I could have sworn that I was listening to The Pixies had they spent more time channeling the ghost of Alex Chilton. Folk Song #2 had me contemplating a holy alliance between the lyrical dexterity of Stephen Malkmus and the melodic chops of Teenage Fanclub.
But let’s not get too carried away and give the impression that we think Blame The Boredom… is some sort of pastiche; a one-dimensional throwback with a surfeit of style over substance. Let’s be plain: you can’t write songs this good if you don’t care wholeheartedly about your craft.
The minor chord progression of Exit 6, with it’s finger-picked filigree, care-worn vocal and tale of a woman that made a lasting impression is a delight. If anything, it’s a shame that it’s over in just two short minutes. But somehow it’s all the more memorable as a result. Fleeting, but oh so perfectly formed.
Skylar Adler’s booming drum pattern that kicks off Story With a Purpose builds into a mid-pace groove with an impassioned vocal and gutteral guitar thrum that will have you wanting to lope around the room, arms aloft, losing yourself in the music. That is, of course, just before the punky thrash of Don’t Forget to Breathe drags you kicking and screaming back to the now to work yourself up into a sweaty, pogoing frenzy.
And then, oh. The afforementioned Adjust Accordingly. It’s special. The kind of beautifully melodic fuzz-box guitar that reminds you of blissful summers as a teenager, saving your hard earned bucks to buy the latest Smashing Pumpkins album at your local record store. The vocal harmonies fill your heart. And then just when you think you can’t take any more comes the harmonic, chiming, impassioned howl of a guitar solo. If you don’t want to cry tears of joy at this point, then your soul is – I’m afraid to say – beyond saving. The whole track is over in three minutes. But it feels epic.
A melodic, memorable, triumph, I’ll blame the boredom and the basements until the cows come home as long as The Nico Blues make music this good.