Time’s All Gone

On the Tuesday night of SXSW, Oz was trying preview Nick Waterhouse for me before seeing his set the following day. I was skeptical at best; ornery at my worst. I remarked to him, “I hope this isn’t some hipster bullshit revival act where some clown gets up in a suit and sings some old-school karaoke crap.”

The next day, we had just witnessed an amazing set from Lee Fields and I was still prickly. “That’s a tough set to live up to,” I remarked. But then, not only did Nick Waterhouse put to rest any moronic preconceived notion I had, his set left my jaw on the ground. I was blown away like no other set that week.

While Waterhouse is inspired by the music of my parents, he stamps his own style on it. His sound is little rough around the edges and can occasionally come of the rails – an attribute that I appreciate. I love the fact that the music maintains some lo-fi garage aesthetic and isn’t polished up within an inch of its life. Slick production could cause the music to lose its soul and that clearly doesn’t happen here. The horns aren’t just along for the ride. They constantly add some serious punch throughout the album. And if all that isn’t enough, Waterhouse can tear it up on the guitar.

The opening track, “I Wanna Know,” had the crowd in a frenzy when we saw him at The Shangri-La in Austin. It has a punchy baritone sax pushing it forward and then the background female vocals enter the fray offering support before one of the ladies takes over the final verse. As she belts, “We trying and we want to know,” the others back her with repeatedly singing, “Say I wanna know” while Waterhouse works into a furious guitar solo. On the album, it is amazing but seeing it live is mind-blowing.

“Is That Clear” begins with a gritty guitar riff coming out of an analogue amp that slowly builds into a 2:30 minute rocking, swinging affair. I love Waterhouse’s raw vocals on this tune that is one of the best singles of the year.

I have been obsessed with Waterhouse since SXSW. I got home Sunday morning and I pulled his EP up on MOG and played it immediately for my wife. I now have his debut LP Time’s All Gone on steady repeat and am itching for a tour that’ll bring him through Chicago. The record is out now.

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