Nick Hakim - Green Twins

by Ljubinko Zivkovic Rating:9 Release Date:2017-05-19

In announcing the arrival if Nick Hakim’s debut album Green Twins, the story was that it is yet another bedroom lo-fi production… Well, after going at it for quite a few spins, I can say that either Nick has quite a sizeable bedroom, or he really knows what he’s doing. Sure, these days computers can do wonders, but you still need to have a detailed knowledge of them and a musical sense to make the sounds you produce so lush and harmonious.

Hakim, who hails from Washington DC and now resides in Brooklyn (via Boston), has spiced his mainly 70s California style soul/RnB and harmonies with East Coast experimentation, with sprinkles of British, dare I say, early progressive rock. After all, as one of his influences, he cites Robert Wyatt and My Bloody Valentine (along with such names as Marvin Gaye, The Impressions, and Al Green, among others). A mix that sounds strangely like something, sadly, missing in action Londoner, Lewis Taylor used to produce in the late 90s/early 00s. A guy who actually began to re-create Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica. No Beefheart around here (not yet, at least), but the key question, is Hakim just listing his record collection or did he actually produce some good sounding music?

And the answer is a resounding yes. Forget all that lo-fi bedroom schtick - Nick Hakim was miraculously able to combine all these influences into a meaningful whole that turns into a rewarding listen. The soulful RnB vibe dominates, Shuggie Otis, another cited influence comes to mind quite a few times on Green Twins but Hakim embellishes all the tunes with definitively jazz or prog influences and vocal harmonies to boot. The introductory title track is a giveaway with its multi-layered vocals and horns, while for example, Needy Bees brings on a jazzy twist that Robert Wyatt himself could have come up with.

What you look for when you try to do a “surgical dissection” of an album like this is a weak musical spot or an overtly similar musical line reminding you too much of its influence. I tried hard, but so far haven’t found any, not even a dumb lyric here and there. Actually, he does good in that department too (how’s “If there’s a god, I wonder what she looks like/I bet she looks like you/I bet she looks like you, from Bet She Looks Like You). One conclusion you get after listening to this album is this - how about spinning it one more time? Expect even better things from this guy.

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