A couple weeks ago Bill over at Sound Bites did a ‘trend piece’ on the subject of the current wave of soft rock. He could be onto something, because this new No Kids EP is right up that alley. A few months ago Nick Krgovich unveiled Maintenant which was his excellent project in the vein of the Sixths and God Save the Girl. Now he’s back to his day job as leader of No Kids, one of his other bands. No Kids’ 2008 debut album Come Into My House had its moments but the new EP just out this week on Tomlab is leaps and bounds ahead of that record. Krgovich is quickly becoming a maestro, and this four song EP exudes confidence in its soulful slightly geeky pop. At times it reminds me of Night and Day/Body and Soul Joe Jackson, All Wheels Good Prefab Sprout, Walk Across the Rooftops Blue Nile, Lateness of the Hour Eric Mathews, and Diamond Life Sade. Sometimes it’s even a little reminiscent of Chicago. The horn arrangements on side one are undeniable, and even downright rump shaking on I Want To Be Around (at least in a white NW Canadian kind of way). Side two switches it up with The Jazz Singer a bit of Jackson-esque Cha Cha Loco, and then slows it down with In Dreamland which recalls Blue Nile’s Downtown Lights. It’s smooth stuff that will sound great on your record player which is the only way you’ll be able to hear it (no CD release), unless of course you’ve got yourself one of those newfangled mp3 players.
photo by Michelle Mayne
Gigi is the brainchild of songwriter Nick Krgovich (No Kids and P:ano) producer Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Cave Singers and Destroyer) and two very large vintage plate reverbs (some dusty storage space). The two of them got together a few years ago with their newly found reverb plates tucked under their arms and the inkling of making a record the way Phil Spector did before he wore nutty wigs and developed a penchant for guns. Besides the Spector influence, I’m reminded of early Harry Nilsson records with their orchestration that always seemed a balancing act between psychedelia and easy listening.
What they came up is quite a record that conjures that era, and sinks it’s pop hooks into you. Each song features a different singer with stellar performances turned in by Rose Melberg, Zac Pennington, Karl Blau, Mirah, and OwenPallett. This project is similar to what Stuart Murdoch attempted last year with his God Save the Girl album, but far surpasses it. Krgovich and Stewart out-Murdochs Mr. Belle and Sebastian himself. The orchestration is restrained but effective, with doses of horns and strings sprinkled about, and twinkling piano and angelic backup singers. So far I’ve only listened to the mp3 version of the album, but even that sounds so warm and intricate that you almost feel like you’re in the studio. I can only imagine what the CD and vinyl version will add. I use to think that they didn’t make albums like this anymore, but Gigi have proven me wrong. The album is titled Maintenant and is out on Tomlab, prepare to be swept off your feet.