Nick Waterhouse breathes and lives 1960s soul— halcyon days of classic surf, gray suit jackets, slicked-back hairdos, thick-rimmed glasses and sock-hop swing. Waterhouse’s sophomore album, Holly, brings back that seamless blend of ’60s throwback and presents a work more mature than his first piece of wax, each groove more grounded and laid-back, digging up darker qualities of the era. Wurlitzer organ drives tracks like “This Is a Game,” while backing female vocalists accompany Waterhouse’s croon on “Let It Come Down.” The Huntington Beach native weaves some mariachi brass into the title track and, throughout the album, heavy toms become rich echoes, filling empty space with thunderous rhythms.
Rooted in rhythm & blues with a damned Bobby Darin stance that says "I'm the Mayer Hawthorne-type singer that's perfect for adding sensual tension to any given David Lynch soundtrack," Nick Waterhouse is in fine form on his 2014 effort Holly; just don't take that Dan Fogelberg-ish album cover for music filled with '70s nostalgia. Go back a decade or two as the '50s and '60s are where this sometimes garage-rocking, sometimes Allah-Las member gets his kicks, something easily picked up on the album's title track, where a tight horn section, a standard beat combo, and plenty of wet reverb power the lusty tune. Indie Chris Isaak is the way that the cleverly titled third track "It #3" rocks over the detached lyrics, which are an almost haiku-like exploration of paranoia, with the short yet vivid words given more meaning by Waterhouse's increasingly itchy and anxious performance.
Nick Waterhouse looks like Elvis Costello and sings like a smoother Dan Auerbach. He writes tight, short songs that would make Bert Bern of Twist And Shout fame proud. You can imagine that he and Van Morrison have a similar record collection, including the Irish bard’s own classics. Unlike other genre-resurging acts like The Allah-las, Tame Impala, Ty Segall or Foxygen, Waterhouse’s main well of inspiration is not classic ’60s rock and roll, but R&B and soul, the kind you listened to in the ’50s on a Chess Records LP.
Don’t be fooled by the horns: Though Nick Waterhouse is often lumped in with soul revivalists like Sharon Jones, the Los Angeles singer, songwriter and guitarist would be the first to tell you that’s not his scene. He’s got soul, to be sure, but really, Waterhouse is a rocker at heart—one whose music just happens to reflect his appreciation for vintage R&B without fully falling back on it. In fact, the singer has more in common on his latest with the jumped-up rock ’n’ roll of, say, JD McPherson, who plays a throwback musical style with modern panache.
Head here to submit your own review of this album. Timeless is a word that's often bandied about, particularly when discussing modern records with a distinctly nostalgic vibe. It's a word that springs to mind when listening to Holly, the second record from Californian singer Nick Waterhouse. Awash with whirling electric organ chords, muted guitar riffs and sharp bursts of horns, it's certainly evocative of a particular time in American music history.
Nobody wake up Martin Courtney. For five or so years, he’s been ambling through life as the frontman of Real Estate, a man at peace with his bliss and uninterested in finding a way out. The calm, earthy and delicate “Atlas,” the third Real Estate album, is less ambitious than its second album, “Days,” and somehow more heroic. “Days” was an argument for structure, a reminder of the sanctity of paved road from a band often accused of wandering.
While chart toppers like Bruno Mars and Sharon Jones may have scored big points with the public in their modern interpretation of classic R&B, it’s likely that they’ll soon have to make room on that upper tier for Nick Waterhouse, a 28 year old Southern California native who’s become something of a pop Svengali in his native environs. Aside from a well-received debut LP Time’s All Gone, he’s mostly made his name working with the likes of Ty Segall, the Allah Las and other staples of the local psych/garage scene. However, with Holly, Waterhouse really comes into his own, branding himself as a retro crossover crooner whose immediate intent appears intended to instigate a ‘60s soul revival.