Nicholas Nicholas is the Brooklyn-based dark pop project of one Chris Masullo, who seems to delight in long track names like “Because of Fire at the Paper Manufacturer.” We previously reviewed his Miscreant Records-released tape Wrong which exhibited a pretty fantastic variety of ambient tones and breathy, deep vocal textures. This single/double release is no different.
If I had one criticism of this two-track release, it’s that Chris relies on some of the same vocal melodies / chord progressions that we heard on Wrong. To put this in perspective, though, I like those recognizable patterns, and it’s likely that NN listeners do, too. Sometimes tonal identifiability is its own form of branding, you know? In any case, the production (drenched in reverb – I’d say that NN gives a new meaning to ‘chamber pop’ but then I’m just making a bad pun) and lyricism are on-point as ever:
we stay inside
and i describe
the ways in which I will succumb to western vice
take me, pull me aside
I do not have the words to make it up
fashion an alibi
you give it to me straight and it is rough
the smoke is rising
The music is smart, endearing, perplexing, and pleasant. It’s certainly not experimental, but it does breath some refreshing life into classic synth-pop tropes in a way that reminds me of the newest Jaakko Eino Kalvei and Sean Nicholas Savage releases. Everyone knows I’m a sucker for this alt-pop stuff anyway. My favorite part of this ~7 minutes of music is probably the fade-out on the second track, “Call Me Number Five”; very ambient, very aurally pleasing.