Nic Garcia, The Desperate Ones

Nic Garcia, The Desperate Ones

Nic Garcia is mood music. It’s sullen, dark, and melancholy. There’re glimmers of hope and love in between the lines, between the raindrops and floods of tears. Yet there are just mere glimmers, nothing to hang your hat on. “Song One” is the languid pacesetter, instrumental and vaguely nostalgic (and I mean “vaguely nostalgic” like the vague seems very familiar). Dark strings, piano, acoustic guitar, and French horns intermingle between sweet melodies and haunting harmonies. Nice. “In the Time of the Wolf” finally introduces Mr. Garcia’s voice, a strained, moany scratch that seems more to “touch” the notes and move on, like handling an expensive antique. “we waited for something, anything” — simple, effective, gracious.

“Triumph” starts with a murky, bluesy guitar and wilting strings. Mr. Garcia’s imagery and messages are well cozy now; the sparse musical landscapes mirror the rain-dotted/sun-softened cover art. Sometimes he sounds like the Tinderstick’s Stuart A. Staples, and then the song trudges along and is over before you know it. The melodies are short and simple but don’t really suck me in as I struggle to keep up with the thick melancholy. “The Wasp” has a horn line that is a faint smirk, but all this darkness begins to wear halfway through the album. I’m looking for a ray of sunshine, some bit of cheer to get me through the rest.

Unfortunately, it’s not until the last track, “Onward,” where the bouncing harpsichord and organ give me the slightest uplift. I would’ve hoped that this number would make its appearance earlier in the album, and once its here, its hopefulness and cheeriness is over much too soon. Ah, but Nic Garcia’s The Desperate Ones is not for the “young hopefuls,” but for the late nights and the lost souls, or for those who just prefer a little shadow with their light.

(Yer Bird Records -- 1117 East Market St, Suite G, Charlottesville, VA. 22902; http://www.yerbird.com/; Nic Garcia -- http://www.nicgarcia.net/)
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Review by . Review posted Wednesday, January 17th, 2007. Filed under Reviews.

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