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
- Pictures Of The Sun
- Pull My Leg
- Check The Weather
- Same Old Song
- Universal Buyout
- Faucets And Drains
- Counting Yellow Lines
- Hat Trick
- All The Time In The World
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