Do you remember of Nick Waterhouse, that guy looking nerdy who pretends to be black and that wearing like he was a man of the first half of the past century, he sings old-fashioned rhythm and blues, jazz, soul, boogaloo? Well, that guy is now back with his third album. ‘Never Twice’ (Innovative Leisure), produced by Nick himself with Michael McHugh (Black Lips, Ty Segall, Allah-Las) was in fact out last September 30 and two years later the previous ‘Holly’.
With a very composite band and as consequence with very accurate arrangments, Nick Waterhouse made another album that will be surely much considered by critics and public because its easy-listening and catchy sonorities and also because in a certain sense his revivalism could be included in what it is actually a sort of fascination in the new generations relating the past and in particular that period of time. Don’t know, Nick Waterhouse it’s like the burlesque, it’s like the theme parties in which everyone like to wear like he was in the thirties. Probably ten years ago we would have define him like a creep or something similar, nowaday it has been adopted the definition, ‘hipster’. Guess director Noah Baumbach (previously well appreciated for ‘Greenberg’ and ‘Frances Ha’) made a good movie about what’s actually this cultural of the revivalism in the youth generations. The movie is actually, ‘While We’re Young’ (2014), and centered on the story of a New York-based documentary filmmaker and his wife, who begin hanging out with a couple in their 20s. Much more than a contrast between two generations, where appearently the couple who are in their 20s (Adam Driver and Amanda Seyfried) seem to have a point of disgust for all the innovation technologies and the nowaday society, the movie it’s probably much more what it is actually a sort of annoyance of the couple composed by Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts in considering that they’re now 40s and that what were actually their ideals and considerations are rather different between what are the cultural contents of the following generation.
On the other hand, for example, it would be no a surprise for you to know that Nick Waterhouse is a singer a songwriter, but also a record producer. He worked with his friends Allah-Las since their debut, but a part from this, he performanced since from ten years ago with artists as Ty Segall, Mikal Cronin, The Growlers, Cold War Kids. I mean, despite his so fascinated and taking inspiration from a period related to the past, he is also (thirty years old last February) a guy of his time and perfectly immersed in the cultural context of the place in which he actually lives, the city of Los Angeles, California. And this is probably the point to pay attention to. I mean, what does it rapresent a figure like Nick Waterhouse in the nowaday cultural context and society?
I, personally, don’t appreciate revivalism. I consider there’re actually good things into our society and also bad things, but I’m never going to relate myself to the past. It is definitely gone, we at least could consider what’s gone has part of our cultural heritage and use it as something we own naturally, perhapes also as a font of inspiration, but not because we have to walk on the old same layout and adopering always the same old schemes.
Don’t know if revivalism could also be considered as a sort of opposition to the actual society and I don’t think it is the intent of Nick, that I suppose he is just fascinated by an era he has not lived directly. And this probably much more because he doesn’t like the previous generation than the one he is actually part.
Despite all this consideration, and coming finally to analyse the contents of the album, it is undoubt that Nick Waterhouse is a good musician and songwriter and that ‘Never Twice’ it’s an accurate easy-listening revival work. Don’t expect obviously any particular innovation listening to it, but just limitate yourself to appreciate what it is actually something that my best friend would define as music for lounge bars. From the soul rhythmate of ‘It’s Time’, the opening track, where is the organ to articulate the time, to the boogaloo soul of ‘I Had Some Money (But I Spent It)’ and ‘Tracy’, the groovy ‘Straight Love Affair’ with a particular use of the choir taken out from the tradition of gospel. The piano ballad, ‘Lucky Once’, the suburban rhythm and blues of, ‘La Turnaround’, a ballad like, ‘The Old Place’, or the calypso long one, ‘Stanyan Street’ with an interesting and dominant use of the saxophone, in practice Nick explored another time the world of sonorities of the 1950s rhythm and blues and club jazz and the 1960s soul and boogaloo. Someone refers also to the mix with a contemporary sensiblity that give to this album a particular relevance into our time, but I must admit that, even if I consider this one his best record and the one in which his songs are more various than in the past, also this time I actually don’t hear nothing like this into ‘Never Twice’. It’s just a revivalist and well-played easy-listening album.
The big question this time is, on the contrary, with ‘Time’s All Gone’ and ‘Holly’, Nick Waterhouse surely acquired a lot of fame and recognitions into the so-called indie culture. Will this new album launch him and make him famous and known also from a bigger audience? Possibly not composed just by what are actually Second World War veterans.
You can also read this review at machchapuchchare