Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Review: Nick Howard “When The Lights Go Up”

Singer-songwriter/Pop rock
From the UK, but seasoned in New York, Nick Howard is one of those musicians you didn’t know that you knew. Since his 2009 album “Something To Talk About” hit the scene, he’s been featured on a plethora of TV shows (Jersey Shore, 90210, and LA Ink to name a few) and racked up lots of airplay and live television features. One listen to his sophomore effort, “When The Lights Go Up”, you’ll see why the masses are gravitating toward his easy-going pop soundscapes.

“When The Lights Go Up” is an organic and soulful record at heart, but polished to a professional sheen with lush strings and crisp production. Howard is a virtual dead ringer for Jason Mraz in sound and style – many people could understandably mistake “When The Lights Go Up” as a new Mraz record. But it’s not…it’s better, thanks to a super strong second half. The first half of the record is also fairly good, but a little too middle of the road in the hooks department and fairly boring in the lyrics department. The exception is the title track, which has more than its fair share of charm.

Beginning with the soulful grove of “Days Like These” (video below), the record kicks into fifth gear and sinks its hooks into you for the long run. “Breakout” is a terrific mid-tempo rocker encouraging the listener to take those chances in life while you can – a great track to start your day. “Tomorrow” and “Looking For Life” follow similar themes, showing a more contemplative side to Howard’s writing, which is bolstered with well-placed harmonies. Howard’s gentle voice is a perfect fit for these kinds of breezy musical pep talks. “Let You Down” rounds things out as a textbook example of what top quality modern pop should sound like.

Check out Nick Howard if you like Gavin DeGraw, Graham Colton, and of course, Jason Mraz.

iPOD-worthy: 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Nick HowardOfficial site.

Check out the video for “Days Like These”:

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