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Nik Freitas | Here's Laughing at You (Future Farmer)
Equally rooted in the psychedelic singer-songwriter tradition as he is in DIY bedroom pop, skateboard mag 'Trasher' photographer Nik Freitas has come up with one of the most accomplished and instantly likeable debuts of the year. The opening Pictures of the Sun sounds as if 'Revolver'-era Beatles, defying chronology, were to rerecord some latter-day Syd Barrett track. "Pictures of the sun / Don't stare at them too long / I know it's raining, but put them away." Simple but effective and moving imagery combines with a melody that seems to have been around forever, to produce only the first of several standout tracks here. On many others, a playful and subtle jazz approach adds to the already intricate but wide-open and drifting '60s feel ?? from the dreamy Pull My Leg to the Billy Joel/Randy Newman-pastiche of Check the Weather. Seemingly effortlessly, Freitas jumps between genres and sounds to come up with something that's truly contemporary and individualistic, while still retaining a sense of close reliance on the sounds and songs of the past. On Thanks he underlines his debt to latter-day Beatles, and particularly Macca's craftsmanship. Faucets and Drains is the imagined sound of the Zombies as envisioned by early-'70s Bowie, and Normal is a cute and catchy little track that'll creep up on you from behind and charm you into submission. Like Stephen Malkmus' highly original take on classic pop music, Nik Freitas pays his respectful but idiosyncratic tribute to late-'60s psychedelia and classic singer-songwriter tradition of the early '70s by proving that the music can be as vital and vibrant today as it ever was.

Stein Haukland
CWAS #11 - Autumn 2002