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Nikhil
Nikhil
Nikhil Music
www.nikhilband.com


Nikhil is the band fronted by guitarist/songwriter Nikhil Korula. Korula and his six sidemen have released an EP that shows promise on many levels, yet fails to follow through on the promise that the great moments lay out for the listener. What we end up with is a CD that borrows from the same vein that Dave Matthews Band has capitalized on, while failing to capitalize on its own promises. This is not meant to be a slam or a genrefication, as Korula composes solid songs that tend to be a bit uplifting in lyrical content. The statement that best sums up this release is unfulfilled.

The opening track "Love Will Make Your Day" comes out of the box full of promise taking a firm pop/rock foundation while coloring it with African soukous styled guitar lines punctuated with saxophone blasts and bubbling percussion. It definitely sounds fresh and grabs your attention with is uniqueness. Unfortunately, by the time the song is half over the theme has been deemphasized a tad and the focus shifts to mirror a Neville Brothers style. It would have been interesting to develop the guitar work a bit more. "Freedom" has the band bringing in a guest harmonica player to stick the melody line into your head. Korula's vocal delivery is steady and emotive, but could benefit from just a tick more conviction as he addresses more of a "personal freedom" than a "political freedom." As alluded to earlier, Korula presents more of a positivity and slight spirituality in his lyrics; kind of an "it's gonna be all right" sort of vibe. "When I Look In Her Eyes" is your standard meditation for a loved one. It's solid stuff, it just doesn't provide me with much inspiration. The tenor sax fills add a moody quality to it; but the jury's still out on how well the quote from The Police's "Every Breath You Take" works in there. Again, where it doesn't reach its full potential is in the final execution…I can feel it, but I just don't feel it. The song that really lets me down is the upbeat "Till We Dance." It has nothing to do with the musical work: the guitar stuff flows nicely, and the bass emphasizes the point and rolls along. It's just way too Matthews Band for me. The feel, the vibe and the vocal delivery just recall it too much. The closing "If I Could" Ends the EP on a solid, if very standard, note. I enjoy the way that the saxophones play in and out of the verse passages, and Korula's vocals on the pre-choruses are some of his best. Maybe do I detect a bit of Joe Cocker or Van Morrison influence here and there? Could be…but as solidly entertaining it may be, it just doesn't knock me out of my chair.

This EP is not a wash or a bomb by any stretch of the imagination, and with some airplay, would do well in many AAA formats and play lists. Slipping it in the five disk changer with some other records is just where it belongs. This allows the songs to catch your ear and draw your attention, but in the end and upon further inspection, it doesn't quite "have me." It's a valiant attempt, and the musicians are fantastic, but it just seems a bit, as I said, unfulfilled.

-tom topkoff

Track Listing:

1. Love Will Make Your Day
2. Freedom
3. When I Look In Her Eyes
4. Till We Dance
5. If I Could


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