There’s been a lot of retro sound floating over the Atlantic of late, modern bands taking a stroll down memory lane for their style and substance with The Growlers and Allah Las just a couple of the good ones. Despite the trend, Nick Waterhouse is doing his own thing.
Doubtlessly inspired by American culture of the 20th century, Waterhouse displays the confidence of an aficionado when speaking about his work and he displays it in his debut album released on Innovative Leisure; Time’s All Gone. No more is this seen than in the opening track ‘Say I Wanna Know’ a track with bop horns and doo-wop vocals assisted by bluesy riffs that make for an intoxicating mix of Americana that my feet can’t resist.
The album continues in this vein taking us back through American musical history and dipping our toe into the smokey waters of American sub-culture. Based in that hipster’s paradise, San Franciscan Waterhouse is clearly a product of his society if not his generation, seemingly taken the same inspiration as writer Jack Kerouac, with high tempo tracks and goading lyrics.
This album is made for a sunny day and in the midday heat when all others run for shelter you will be burning holes in your shoes as ‘twisting’ becomes impossible to withstand. ‘Don’t You Forget It’ and ‘I Can Only Give You Everything’ are the standout tracks in the LP where the style is impeccably observed but not forced. Waterhouse who is also a well regarded producer isn’t on his own here though, fantastic horns and upbeat bass are all topped off by the backing vocals which really give this album it’s definitive style.
Waterhouse, unlike most artists today, learned his trade in the Los Angeles-based studio The Distillery, an establishment with no computer or Pro-Tools but just bags of sticky textural history. There’s something organic about Waterhouse, even when the music slows with ‘Teardrops Will Follow You’ he seems calm, collected and knowing.
If you’ve got time you should really check out this performance of most of the songs from the album on KEXP, it’s 23 minutes long but a great insight to the creation of the album.”I think I found a girl I can talk to, think I found someone who can replace you, she doesn’t care if I got bread and I remember everything she said, yeh I think that she will do, Uh-huh,” he sings.
Probably because he is. The Distillery as the man himself puts it is where he got his degree in American music and through osmosis this visceral education exudes out of him and into the music. With Time’s All Gone, Waterhouse proves that this is truy his own sound. Not a regurgitation rather an authentic rejuvenation as he provides us with everything from rock ‘n’ roll, to garage, to jazz, all achieved in a tasty morsel of American Joy. Truly the real McCoy.
Stream the record, below.