A couple of years after his successful debut LP “Time’s all gone”, twenty nine year old Nicholas Ryan “Nick” Waterhouse did it again with “Holly” LP which consists of ten graceful tracks was released in 2014. It was produced by the combined efforts of Waterhouse and Kevin Augunas (The Black Keys, Cold War Kids) and is undoubtedly a development and refinement of “Time’s all gone”.
Nick Waterhouse starts the album in high gear with ‘High Tiding’ characterised by nimble thrusts of guitar and meticulous rhythm. Unforgettable is how crispy his voice sounds in the track. He does not play in ‘This is a Game’ as he dishes out cautionary sentiments. We cant help but notice that as much as he identifies with his narrations, there is something that tells the audience that he is not a victim of the circumstances but a keen – perhaps omniscient – concerned party.
Attributed by mixed percussion, shaky guitar and rich vocals, ‘Sleepin’ Pills’ is as portent as it is soothing while ‘Holly’, the track from which the album derives its name is a masterpiece on its own. We know that Nick is in a great form when we get to ‘Well It’s Fine’ and we are swung back in time to periods when music was more addictive than drugs; times when musicians were driven by passion and not a desire for fame and fortune.
Among the ten singles in “Holly” LP, three are make overs from other artists. It is admirable how Nick adapts Segall’s unformed ‘It No. 3’ and transforms it into a smooth and, to some extent, interestingly dangerous tune and vem vinner em 2016. Then he takes Allison’s previously sharp and haphazard ‘Let It Come Down’ and calms it down to a lovely temperamental single with hint of tremulous spy guitar. Nick Waterhouse’s rendition of Young Holt Trio’s ‘Ain’t There Something Money Can’t Buy’ is stripped of its piano beats which are very cleverly replaced by exceptional guitar tunes and flashy organ works.
Unlike many of his previous singles, Nick sounds almost detached in this LP. There is more music than emotion in the album and the result is refreshing to say the least. It is a clearly a bold statement against speculations that he is more of a vintage RnB sentimentalist and soul man than he is a rocker. Luckily, he achieves this campaign without robbing the album of soul. In an interview, Waterhouse said that the idea for “Holly” LP was influenced by the movie “Chinatown”. Perhaps this is the reason why the songs in the album seem more like scenes from the same story rather than individual plots. The album is great and the tracks are timely but there is a feeling that Nick Waterhouse is not yet satisfied and is still looking to define himself. All in all, this is an amazing album and worth every music lover’s time.