Nicholas Nicholas is the dreampop project of Brooklyn resident Chris Masullo. “Wrong” toes the fine line between EP and LP, putting it in rather good company in terms of strong debut albums (think Sunken by Twin Peaks, but just in running time and the strong sensation of craving more).
If I had to describe this album’s sound in one phrase, it would be “slow burn.” Once you recognize the sultry, impassioned vibe of this music, you’ll know exactly when it’s meant to be listened to — driving down empty moonlit roads, watching 80s montages through weird filters, having an intimate moment with an old friend. It says a lot that I can imagine music videos for these songs without any visual aids at all; the sound is evocative of lasting images in my imaginary, but I couldn’t say exactly why that is. In terms of sound and aesthetic, there are comparisons to be made (Roxy, Beach House, Sean Nicholas Savage), but Nicholas Nicholas resists reductive attempts to describe its sound. If you’re looking for a firm basis of comparison, it’d include drum loops, washy textures, and intimately whispered vocals, but these are just its basic textural components.
The opening song, “Keychain,” is incredibly distinctive in its swirling crescendos and blocky-yet-somehow-underwater chord sequence, sort of like a thematic tonal suite to open up for some of the more catchy tracks which it precedes. “Meet Me In the Park” is more active in terms of tempo and cadence, but it maintains the characteristic incomprehensibility in vocals (the emphasis is not on the words themselves but on the streaks of delay and reverb which remain). If you actually go read the lyrics on their bandcamp, the impressionist poetry found there (“On white wall you see / the details of another’s dream / Lay me in the cave”) helps shed light on the emotional content of the songs in a way that’s consistent with the tonal implicatons of the album (the words fit the vibe, man).
It’s pretty hard to pick out stuff I don’t like about this release… I guess I’d say “Wrong and Right” isn’t exactly my favorite track (comes across as a little contrived), but at worst it’s an effort to diversify the sounds of the record. All in all, “Wrong” comes across as a thoughtful and bold release full of intention, originality, and musicality.
You can pay what you want for “Wrong” on Nicholas Nicholas’ bandcamp.