Review: Nick Waterhouse – Holly

Posted on: Thursday, May 8, 2014


Nick Waterhouse –  Holly

(Innovative Leisure: IL 2017)

Well, two years have passed and the surprise, praise, and trumpeting of the new found Southern Californian, Huntington Beach born talent that is Nick Waterhouse, has settled down like dust on an old sideboard and Nick’s second album, is an album that is still pretty much in the same vein as his debut but, more importantly, he continues to impress musically, especially so when you consider that he has just recently finished producing a very different kind of musical debut album for the Allah-Las (a garage-psych band).

There are no great surprises on the ten numbers that make up “Honey”, it is simply, a very aurally moreish and addictive album that is full of extremely well played and produced short, razor sharp dance-floor twisters and tear-jerkers that take you right back to the late fifties and tremolo ringing sixties. It is also a record with Sun, Stax, Motown and Phil Spector mono sensibilities that has been created in stereo for those who don’t yet know of such treasures but, the music also has resonances with later artists such as the Doors, Scott Walker and contemporaries such as Sharon Jones.

Nicks vocals are still a pleasing mixture of Jim Morrison and Roy Orbison. The dour and melancholy arrangements in the Jazz laden brushwork and lonely late piano playing of numbers such as; “Hands On The Clock”, richly embroider a touching torch song that lingers long in the mind. “Ain’t There Something Money Can’t Buy,” is a hugely danceable gospel/Ray Charles inspired tight drum rolling organ/guitar twister, that asks, what is there, that is not for sale?

The Roy Orbison influenced “High Tiding”, is tautly led by a picking, ticking guitar that bursts with a ringing tremolo while over the top Nick’s austere, almost monotone vocals keep a tight rein on the whole proceedings, “This Game”, swings with punching fifties style burning, puffing saxophones that do battle with driving and insistent smoking organ, interspersed with captivating bongos and very fluid twangin’.

There is a definite Duane Eddy influence on the riffing guitar work of “It No.3”, a tight rolling drum sound underpins the richly almost James Burton solo.  The title number “Holly” is led by swaggering staccato horns over a martial drumbeat juxtaposed with bluesy, late night girly choruses, while lyrical bursting Mexican horns lead the outro.

Highly recommended!


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