Nicholas Krgovich can't decide whether to bow at the Americana altar or give it up for synth pop, and so his song-writing prowess lies between the two, recalling traditional folk songwriters as much as he does artists such as Prefab Sprout and the Dirty Projectors. His new record, 'On Sunset', is a love letter to Los Angeles, and was produced by friend and helper of Canadian superheroes the New Pornographers. Expect something colourful and ornate.
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With a picture of his chiselled face on the cover, hopes were low for this album. But that was before I saw these words on the press release.....’Prefab Sprout’. Ok I’m easily swayed, I’ll give it a listen then.
There’s a short orchestral intro before ‘The Backlot’ appears with its jittery almost hip-hop styled intro before it bursts into a gorgeous mellifluous chorus with great big sweeping strings. Good start. If you like your slick and romantic 80’s pop heroes you may well be interested in ‘Along the PCH On Oscar Night’ as it rather remarkably sounds like those purveyors of rain-drenched romanticism The Blue Nile. The chorus seems to belong to a different song altogether being rather upbeat and soulful. Shades of Steely Dan here. Ok, its slick, its sophisticated, its Sade but there’s some real songcraft going on which initially makes me forgive efforts like ‘Cosmic Vision’ which...veers rather too close to Curiosity Killed the Cat territory.
However if you can’t stand ‘80’s balladry you’re in the wrong place. Songs like ‘Let’s Take the Car Out’ are pure mid 80’s aspirational pop but falling somewhat short. You need haunting melodies and deep melancholy to go with the sophistication you see, along with lyrics that hit hard. Krgovich tries this on ‘Rock’s Dream’ and ‘You’re Through’ and across the course of the B side I think he's gets closer to what I am imagining he is aiming for, perhaps something akin to Its Immaterial meets Junior Boys meets Mick Hucknall and it comes together tantalisingly sweetly on the interweaving harmonies of 'At Pershing Sq' and ‘Moon’s Soft Glow’ but it feels like it's too little too late.
They tried hard I’ll give them that but it often sounds like a Travelodge take on The Blue Nile and too close to 80’s wine bar garbage. Six for effort though and I'm going to give it further listens to see if it's the archetypal 'grower'.
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- On Sunset by Nicholas Krgovich
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