Monday, 14 January 2013

New Music Monday #35

Friend and Lover EP
by Nick and Liesl
Available 1 February, 2013

What do you do when you get knocked back on a grant to record a new album? If you're Nick Everitt and Liesl Karlsson, you put your home recording skills to good use and produce an acoustic EP so good, you'd think they'd recorded it in some swanky studio in Santorini with Quincy Jones on production duties. I'm just saying the quality is excellent on Nick and Liesl's Friend and Lover EP, which is sure to leave fans of the duo very happy while hopefully winning over some new ones too. More fans means less need to apply for grants which means a new album for our listening pleasure. My logic is sound. Opening with the title track, 'Friend and Lover' almost works as a bridge between debut album Feather and the next stage of their journey. It wouldn't have been out of place on their debut; a lovely song about love, Nick and Liesl being all cute and vocally talented, Everitt's open and honest writing style on display. Standard Nick and Liesl music goodness. Then 'Raphaël' happened and with one brazen, out of left field Carla Bruni cover I'm left blown away by their ability to find new ways to impress (and show off a little!). A complete departure from the sound I've come to expect in the most stunning way, Liesl gets her French on with the lustful 'Raphaël.' It's deserving of an immediate second play. 

'Missing You,' like 'Friend and Lover' is an older Nick and Liesl track recorded for the first time on this EP. They've worked some production magic on this one, because the sound is rich and full, with smatterings of strings, percussion, guitars and piano. Keep in mind the duo worked without a backing band. You're left discovering more layers to 'Missing You' each time you give it a listen. A second cover arrives in the form of John Mayer's 'Your Body Is A Wonderland.' A song that I've never willingly chosen to listen to until now. I can comfortably say I enjoyed Nick and Liesl's take on it and it must be a crowd pleaser live. A John Mayer fan may have a differing opinion. I am not a John Mayer fan. 

Nick and Liesl bring the EP to a close with new track 'Skipping Seasons.' It's a soulful, Karlsson written piano ballad that exists in a space that can be both sweet and tinged with sadness and longing. "Most of all I miss the spring flowers and the autumn mist." This is a really beautiful track; Liesl's vocal performance is exceptional, the harmonies with Nick are the best they've ever sounded (which is saying something - these two have voices that naturally come together to make magic happen) and the piano melody will make you melt. 'Skipping Seasons' is a song that will make people stop and pay very close attention. If this is a sign of what we can expect from their next album... uh, just thinking about it has me really excited for what's to come next. The last time I mentioned that whole "albums that end with a stellar, memorable ballad are the best" theory was in our review for Feather. Nick and Liesl know how to wrap things up; leaving you both satisfied and wanting more. Feather left me excited for what has become the Friend and Lover EP. The Friend and Lover EP has left me excited for their second LP. I hope we get to hear it soon.

Matt Bond gives the Friend and Lover EP five Nick Cave's out of five...

Where Are We Now
by David Bowie
Album: The Next Day (March, 2013)

See, the thing is, it’s going to sell, because, well, it’s David Bowie. Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t deny the voice, and even if you’re bored midway through, every now and then you hear the familiar sound of his vocal and remember all the other amazing songs you love, and then you start thinking about them and how you have to listen to some of your old Bowie again, and then the song is over and that’s ok, because you’re going to put on Space Oddity after this anyway.  

Jo Michelmore gives Where Are We Now three Britney's out of five...


by Ke$ha
Album: Warrior (2012)

I was prepared to dislike this clip, which is the way I feel at the start of most Ke$ha clips and admittedly, I almost turned off after fifty or so seconds, but then a '70’s inspired van appeared Back To The Future style and some people in animal costumes started bouncing around to her typically annoying vocal and I knew that in a couple of weeks I’ll have seen the clip a hundred times and I’ll probably be smiling and singing along anyway, so why fight it and just admit defeat now. It’s Ke$ha. Accept it and learn to like it like I have, she’ll be hanging around for a while yet.

Jo Michelmore gives the video for C'mon three Britney's out of five...

Kiss You
by One Direction
Album: Take Me Home (2012) 

“I just wanna show you off to all of my friends, making them drool down their chinny-chin-chins”. There is a point in this clip where the most baby faced member of the group sings those lyrics while stroking his own baby faced chin. I have nothing more to say.  

Jo Michelmore gives the video for Kiss You one Dannii Minogue out of five...    

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