Nick Waterhouse feels the pang of this joy and plays R&B as it used to be. As it should be.
What a joy it must have to been to have experienced the heyday of R&B, when it filtered through smoke-drenched clubs and was a badge of honourfor hipsters, not a dirty word for throwaway chart garbage. Nick Waterhouse feels the pang of this joy and plays R&B as it used to be. As it should be.
Music and songwriting is about evoking, distilling, the essence of an emotion and making it tangible, and on Time’s All Gone Waterhouse takes us back to the sense of wilful abandon that could arise from the simple act of snapping one’s fingers to a catchy tune. Listening to the album you feel as though you’re walking, whiskey and cigarette in hand, through the obsidian elegance of a New Orleans bar. It’s impossible to not find your head bouncing along to his triumphant and arrogantly self-assured rhythms.
Tracks such as Some Place and Indian Love Call recall prime-time Ray Charles and Time’s All Gone Pt 1 and If You Want Trouble has the sort of guitar riffs, underpinned by brilliant saxophone lines, that helped inspire a young John Lennon to pick up a guitar.
Although the rhythms throughout are achingly danceable, the most perfect thing about this release for me is Waterhouse’s vocals. Crackling and sensual, they merge the silk of Charles Brown and the glycerine drenched sandpaper of Screaming Jay Hawkins and though Waterhouse is too smooth to let loose to Hawkins’ extent, the hint is delicious enough.
For an artist so obviously steeped in tradition, it’s impressive that he is able to make music that sounds fresh when it is so relentlessly out of its time. Time’s All Gone will make for excellent listening, whether it’s bursting out of a gramophone or poured onto a dancefloor filled with electro-swing aficionados.
Waterhouse just made my list of artists to see.
Out now on Innovative Leisure.