Photos Credit: Los

Everything The Niceguys do as a band, group and extraterrestrial collective is done in a family like atmosphere. The group (Christoph, Free, Yves Saint & DJ Candlestick) have been together as a collective since 2007 and with personalities ranging from calm, collective to fiends of good liquor and alcohol – it’s not surprise that their listening session for their debut album was more of a soundtrack to a celebratory house party.

From the moment I walked into Wire Road Studios, the feeling from pompous industry party morphed into something completely different. The first thing you notice is James Kelly’s production set up, then some instruments set up in the backroom to the right near the bathroom and a kitchen. It only made sense for a group such as this one to find synergy at a literal home. In the far ends of the corner, the Guys’ debut video for Mr. Perfect (directed by Danny Ocean) but one had to stop in the kitchen and wise up on some Shiner & punch.

Pulling open one of the cabinets unveiled The Niceguys’ secret recipe for crafting some of their best work – tons and tons of empty Jack Daniels bottles.

“There are electrolytes in Jack. It’s our Gatorade.” – Yves Saint of The Niceguys

From there, the media within the Houston community held a small meet and greet with each other and then Yves asked everyone to come into the main studio and the group as a whole offered a few thanks and plenty of jokes before allowing us into The Show.

The album starts off with the title song, a rousing effort with cheering crowds, triumphant horns and some call and response. Yves vocals are about as naturally laid back as you can get, enveloped in the achievement that his crew have accomplished. He stays in that same realm for much of the album, even on the Steely Dan inspired “Toast”, another celebratory and horn infused track that gives the feeling that the Guys are steadfast enjoying themselves more than anything. That celebration goes moody and silky as Christoph & Free’s production bring out smokey piano stabs and drums on “Good Shepard” where Yves fleshes out some of his best lyricism, a nimble double time flow moving through Warrick Dunn metaphors, standing on his own two feet and swapping out papers for bongs.

A complete switch from the usual Niceguy sound of booming brass and drums and the 70s celebration feel occurs on “Things Ain’t The Same”, one of the strongest cuts on the album about love lost. It sounds like a late summer night in Houston, not exactly too hot but steadily on the chase to fulfill something you didn’t catch in the daytime. Yves picks up his emotions from the ground on “Die Later” eating through crisp organ work and dusty drum work that evoke a call back to Agent Orange’s “Krush”. Boastful as ever, the chorus sticks to the motto of family first, “Only thing promised on this tilted axis, is victory for my Niceguys, death and taxes.”

From Tarantino stabs (“On This Road/Off This Road”) to soul cuts (“Somebody”), the entire album sounds diverse from track to track. Sure there are borrowed elements here and there but it’s not too obnoxious. In a sense, it’s one of the albums you’ll be playing throughout the fall, regardless of who else may decided to invade your headphones and wallets.

Most of the attendees from Hater Magazine to WeWoreMask were kept in a constant rhythm of head nodding and grimaces of sticky lyricism and production, then they were invited in to the kitchen and obliged in a toast. A celebratory and much needed victory moment for the group, as two years of hard work and cohesion pay off in an offering that’s as well rounded as you can get for a debut.

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