Album review: Nick Waterhouse, 'Time's All Gone'

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Nick Waterhouse, 'Time's All Gone'

Nick Waterhouse, 'Time's All Gone' (May 4, 2012)

3 stars (out of 4)

At its best, Nick Waterhouse’s music sounds like it was recorded at a house party just as it shifts toward oblivion. Saxophones squawk, guitar solos lunge; even the drums sound distorted. Waterhouse’s pleasingly wrecked guitar playing is matched by singing that teeters out of control every so often, like he’s trying to tamp down a wild animal in his throat. Only the female backing vocalists maintain their cool, as if teasing their overheated bandmates.

Waterhouse is in his mid-twenties, and he owes almost everything to music that was created before he was born. But unlike the period-piece posturing of some of his retro-soul peers, Waterhouse isn’t interested in precise replications on his debut, "Time's All Gone" (Innovative Leisure). Instead he aims to channel their volatility; what he likes about those scratchy 45 rpm singles is how unstable they sound.

He’s not a persuasive enough crooner to pull off a ballad such as “Raina.” But when he embraces the implied threat behind “(If) You Want Trouble,” raves on about “Some Place,” and laments that “Time’s All Gone,” he sounds deadly.

greg@gregkot.com

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