From the first energetic kick of the guitar and drum combination that begins its opening track, “It’s Over,” the Nick Black Band — consisting of Nick Black (Vocals), Clay Davies (Guitars), Jaedis (Bass), and Robin Diaz (Drums) — lay all their cards on the table, as they bet that listeners are ready for something that’s been hard to find lately, a solid rock and roll record.
Whether it is the grand surrender of Nick’s vocals on “Fall to Pieces;” the churning guitar-work on “Something Real” as it amplifies a demand for nothing more or less than to find or experience “something” real in life; the give and play of both lyrics and the superb rhythm work of Diaz and Jaedis on “Want You More;” the surprisingly heart-felt intensity on a grand version of Heart’s “Barracuda;” and the elegantly arranged title track that closes out the album, Hollow manages to be an album that fulfills its opening promise.
Don’t get me wrong, Hollow is not what I would call a perfect rock album. Every now and then I feel like the album is too precise and polished, which makes me wish that Nick and co. would have just let loose and blown the gloss off of some of these songs. Having said that, however, I’ll admit to thinking that way due to my love of all things garage rock. Really, when one’s main complaint against an album is that it sounds too good, perhaps one should just shut up and enjoy the music.
To that I say, “Touché, self! Touché.”
So, that’s what I’ve been doing for the past few hours, ever since I found myself at the end of that final paragraph. I’ve been keeping Nick Black’s band on rotation in my headphones, in hopes that it would inspire some amazingly brilliant ending to this review. You know, something that would cause anyone reading it to leap into action, whip out the credit cards, and purchase the album for themselves.
In short, it felt like I’ve been chipping away at a king-hell case of writer’s block. Which is a shame, really. When trying to get people inspired to want to listen to an album, you’d think it would be phenomenally easy if it is an album that you really like, right? Well, it is, and I do.
Whether it is in my headphones and helping to drown out the insanity of working at my local newspaper, cranked obscenely loud in my car as I’m tooling around town, or whispering quietly to me through my bedroom speakers as I’m fading off into slumber, Hollow has been a constant companion of my eardrums, ever since I’ve had a copy.
If that’s not enough to convince you, I heartily encourage you to head on over to the band’s website, or myspace page, and take some of these songs out for a spin in your own ears. Once you do and come to the conclusion, as I did, that this is an album worth owning. You’ll find yourself wanting to either purchase it directly through the band’s online store, or through iTunes.
If enough of you do that, perhaps, Nick and his music will reach the mainstream sooner than later, and you’ll be able to be just that much smugger in the knowledge that you not only helped to bring good music to the masses, but that you were smart enough to have known about it ages before anyone else.