Friday, November 28, 2014

Up From the Underground : Nate Paladino's "Good Boy"

Right from the opening passages of guitar that opens this ep, you can tell there is something different about Nate Paladino. The smug irony of the lyrics to " My Kind of Bitch" has a dark yet honest sense of humor to them. It takes you back to early days of the 50's  doop wop rock n roll. It seems like something that would be much better suited for this season of American Horror Story than having Evan Peters sing the less time period appropriate Nirvana. There is also a hint of indie folk to songs like the first single "Buy Your Heart". It keeps the swing of  "Earth Angel" covered by a guitarist from Orange County whose riffs reflected the California sun.  This sunny disposition does away with the tongue in cheek darkness of the opener, but it is still well executed.

"Don't Say Maybe" takes on a dirtier  Jerry Lee Lewis style of rockabilly.The piano bangs in the background making this  a pretty color by numbers tribute to this style of Elvis era rock. The guitar playing owes a great deal to Brain Setzer. His voice takes on the mock warble of the King at times. The more western feel that recalls more of a Roy Orbison feel sets the tone to " Come Back to Me." Less heart wrenching than say " Only the Lonely" it is sung in a much less dramatic fashion than Roy, never going up into that classic head voice, instead it brings to mind Bright Eyes ' country album.The blues of "Something to Prove' brings the album up into at least the 70's. He adds more husk to his voice. Not the grainy worship of whiskey and cigarettes that Tom Waits has, but that's  what is being aimed for here. The instrumentation is more in line with something Joe Cocker would have backing him, but the lyrics have that more deprecating Waits feel. Tom Waits never gets this upbeat even in his earlier work.

The album closes with another song that not only steers clear of the earlier retro sound, but brings Bright Eyes to mind. Though he doesn't have the overly emotive quality as His voice returns to his normal plaintive mid range. The guitar is crisp and as lyrical as the folk melody he pours his contemplation over.  This ep is a good escape back to the beach for those of you who do not relish the coming dark of the winter months. At times  Paladino  might relish weaving  some of the songs together with retro sounds, over all it's indie flare and attitude dripped over clever singer songwriter pop that avoids sounding like your run of the mill CW soundtrack fare.  The album is not drenched in the rock a billy reverb and all the sounds are pretty refined and crisp. If you are in the mood for some pole dancing, ... I mean really when are you not ? You can check out the video for the first single "Buy Your Heart" below. While Paladino's the mellow brand of indie folk might be more suited for burning one at at park on a sunday morning, it isn't going to become a strip club classic anytime soon.

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