A Blast from the Past
At first glance, he looks like a Buddy Holly-era transplant. At first listen, he sounds out of this time period. LA musician and producer Nick Waterhouse’s second album, Holly, is a complete blast from the past. He stays true to his retro rock sound and pulls the listener in with each groove.
The opening notes of “This Is A Game” feature gritty horn (heavy on the bari sax) and guitar riffs. Waterhouse transports us to a dive bar and heavily features his instrumentalists. As if you were watching a live jam session, the instruments pass from one to the next in a well-choreographed fashion. It’s not necessarily improv, but you tend to forget that. “But this is a game / And those who play with skill / Aren’t quite saying it’s do or die / But anyway, you’re gonna get killed.”
By the time you hit the last tracks in the album, you’re wanting more of the jazz sounds Waterhouse is obviously inspired by. “Ain’t There Something Money Can’t Buy” features a chorus of echoes from background singers, similar to that of Ray Charles. The lyrics are good on their own, but easily take the more simplistic route to make room for the band. “Hands On The Clock” closes out the album and almost seems out of place in doing so, but works as the bass and piano walk you out. It’s not an incredibly slow pace, but it is similar to the bartender of the club yelling out, “Last call.”
Bits of each song are memorable, but the songs as a whole follow the same pattern that reminds you of a classic from yesteryear. Each song can hold its own as a bluesy throwback and hold your attention, but nothing stands out past the sounds. Instead, you get the feeling of the nostalgia, you get the throwback to the ’60s, and let’s just hope that you can get that last drink before the band leaves the stage.