Optimistic and introspective, Nic Hessler’s ‘Soft Connections’ record was a long term labour of love and growth for the musical self explorer on the brink of a personal breakthrough. The thoughtfully crafted songs are a pilgrimage towards purpose and direction, a soundtrack to your own personal coming of age movie or failed romance.
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 13 March 2015
Hmm...anything with the words “indebted to American power-pop” on the cover is bound to pique my interest - especially when on “Hearts, Repeating” it comes with lashings of the style of jangly guitar that once adorned R.E.M records as well as anything from Dwight Twilley to Tommy Keane. It’s a good job as repetitive opener ‘I Feel Again’ left me fairly cold.
He certainly knows his way around a jangly riff...’Expel Me’ has the kind of skirling chewy riffs XTC used to excel at. It’s a record of summery jangle pop - reminiscent of many post R.E.M 80’s janglers but I’m finding the production rather anemic - the sound is lovely but there’s only so much inconsequential jangling you can take before you want something a bit more meaty. The production is polished and clean and I’m missing a bit of grit, a lo-fi edge that might propel the album forward a bit. It’s all a bit 80’s radio friendly and on first listen the hooks aren’t really hitting.
That said, fans of the dB’s and Let’s Active need to take a listen to tracks like ‘Soon You’ll See, Kristine’ which could have flowered from either of their pens.
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- Soft Connections by Nic Hessler
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