Portland songwriter Nick Arneson will drop a new album, called MidLifeCrisis, on August 17.
Arneson cites the following musical influences: rock and roll, the 1970s, weed, reverb, alcohol, drums. Bands that make him feel things: The Beatles, Tom Petty, The War on Drugs, Television, Talking Heads, Townes Van Zandt, Hank Williams, Led Zeppelin, Queens of the Stone Age, Soundgarden, early Elvis, Roy Orbison, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles… to name a few.
Stylistically, Arneson falls into the indie rock category, merging layered harmonics to imbue his music with emotion and passion. Topically, he touches on subjects he describes as “real life, adult shit.”
To promote the album, Arneson announced a series of invite-only “Live From The Barn” shows, which will be streamed for those outside the Portland area. The Barn is where Arneson recorded, produced, and mixed MidLifeCrisis.
The album comprises seven tracks, starting off with “End,” a cool, jazz-flavored indie-rock number. The song is upbeat, coruscating with smooth, creamy rhythmic elements, and Arneson’s dulcet yet evocative tones. “Once” opens with a dreamy psychedelic flow and throbbing drums. The ethereal texture of the music is deliciously infectious, accented by shimmering harmonics and floating, drifting background vocal harmonies.
Other highlights on MidLifeCrisis include “Try,” a measured, flowing tune with tender suffusions of sonic hues and a scrumptious bassline. Arneson’s impassioned voice reflects strident urgency and aching sensations. “Pop Song” exudes dark bluesy flavors, oozing with wicked flavors. I love the vocal harmonies rising from the backdrop, like Sirens keening for Ulysses.
“Inertia” is my favorite song on the album because of its punk-lite flavor. Arneson’s voice mirrors biting tones with serrated timbres, as well as a fabulous dark sensuality. The last track is “Outsider,” a tune reminiscent of Steve Miller covering a Dave Matthews song, bluesy and sweltering with sinuous colors.
MidLifeCrisis is excellent indie rock, different enough to keep your attention, yet not experimental. Nick Arneson is supremely talented, with a yummy sensual voice, able to infuse his compositions with emancipated colors and affable sonic surfaces.