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Nik Freitas
Hereís Laughing At You
Future Farmer Records


Mr. Big, my editor, really dropped the ball on this one. He hands me this disc of a guy I never heard of, on a label I never heard of and says, "Here, youíll like this." Knowing full well my musical proclivities, he wouldnít expect me to like anything resembling The Beatles. After all, the only thing worse than the Fab Four is the Fad Four-thousand that followed them. It took about three measures for my confusion to melt away while I leaned back with a goofy grin on my mug. I hate when that bastard is right. In fairness, Nik Freitas has a Beatles by way of Squeeze thing going on. He adopts their British sense of the absurd also shared by XTC while lacking the general mediocrity of all those acts. The strength of composition is actually shocking. He cares enough about the listener to give plenty of weird and pleasant amusements.

The rhythms on "Pictures Of The Sun" tease like a gentle game of chase. The changes are fast enough to keep it interesting but the subject is always in sight. Freitasí upper end voice is comfortable and inviting. The guy is a singer. The piano on "Thanks" hints at the Beatles without stealing outright. All right, so the inference is bigger than I care to admit. This soul-bender could be a McCartney composition. "Pull My Leg" is a gently hypnotic space tune that seems to have its own secret punchline. The rhythm section is a soothing heartbeat. Hope it doesnít end up on Hearts Of Space. On "Check The Weather," Freitas completely makes up for that awful Glen Tilbrook disco album. It feels really good, like the Squeeze song that never was. The fresh take on the "doot-dooís" is so warm and unexpected over the electric piano, itís the icing on the icing. "Same Old Song" does sound a bit familiar, but itís coincidence. Thereís some sorrow on this one as the piano playing is almost regretful. Apologetic at the very least: Looking for a new sound in my ear/looking for a code that is clear/looking for a DJ that can play/everything we never got to say.

"Universal Buyout" has a wicked Leonard Cohen humor. Simple folk strumming and a minor chord progression complete the comparison. I was shaking in my shoes/The day I heard the news/Said the deal has been done/The moon just bought out the sun. This brilliant "look before you leap" parable hits home, when the moon realizes the ramifications too late. The faux ska of "Faucets And Drains" reminds me of Madness. I was looking around behind me when the sound effects fooled me. Itís peppy and nostalgic. A waltz across Canada accounts for "Counting Yellow Lines." Sounds like a re-working of Paul Simonís "Look For America." Come to mention it, Freitas sounds a bit like that Paul as well. Tear-jerking sentiment closes out "All The Time In The World." This one will make you look over appreciatively at your old lady, boyfriend, hound-dog or all of the above. Then I want you to reach out that one hand, cause thatís what itís there for. Yeah Nik Freitas is an old softy with his xylophone and slow ballad. Heíll get you with that slightly "Ooh baby I love your way" way. He got me with a large order of prove-you-wrong.

On a scale of Pauls: One being Paul Lynde, and ten being Paul Harvey, Hereís Laughing At You rates a nine Ė Paul Prudhomme.

ó Ewan Wadharmi

Track Listing:

  1. Pictures Of The Sun
  2. Thanks
  3. Pull My Leg
  4. Check The Weather
  5. Normal
  6. Same Old Song
  7. Universal Buyout
  8. Faucets And Drains
  9. Counting Yellow Lines
  10. Hat Trick
  11. All The Time In The World

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Mike Doughty



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