Julio Nickels - Feeling Fickle - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Julio Nickels - Feeling Fickle

by Bill Golembeski Rating:9 Release Date:2019-07-12
Julio Nickels - Feeling Fickle
Julio Nickels - Feeling Fickle

This is slow motion fun house art rock music. It’s a concept album from the vantage point of a bouncer. So, yeah, this one isn’t going to be a jaunty ride.

But it is a beautiful statement of humanity, with electronics and dreamy distortions serving sonic drinks to weary people who are always game for yet another whisky old fashion and a weird B-side jukebox tune.

The single, “Grace Notes,” begins with the line, “He looked at me with one dead eye.”

So, yeah (again), it’s an intense sonic ride, but the intensity only magnifies the deep human touch.

By the way, Julio Nickels is the nom de plume for Jason Orlovich, but that’s beside the point.

Now, it’s just an idea, but this record sounds like (the great) Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden, slowed a bit and then shot through with a dream’s worth of depth. This album vibrates with a broad and very beautiful palette. And, believe it or not, there are acoustic instruments that pervade all the dark maze of this music. But, even in the depths of this density, melodies emerge, and they are songs of slow molasses flowing beauty.

And it has some commonality to the strange and wondrous music of (the late and great) Scott Walker. But (to be fair) in pop music inter-galactic measurements, Scott Walker’s last album, Soused, sings its way through Alpha Centauri, while Feeling Fickle is content to orbit the big rock (formerly known as the card-carrying fully bona fide planet Pluto). And that simply means that fewer connoisseurs of really nice music will leave the party when this album is played.

“BPM” oozes its rock ‘n’ roll bloodline with electronic pulses.

“League of Nations” oozes even more rock ‘n’ roll bloodlines. The song envelopes the electronic night, and then it shivers with sound. The tune steps gently among the landmines of weird pop, although the dark melody sings a sad and obsessive song.

Come to think of it, this entire album sings a sad and obsessive song.

“Local Support” plays big chords that vibrate around the universe. And the vocal, again, is slow and swirling like a galaxy, and laced with dramatic beauty. This song is a memorized carousel ride with beautifully carved horses that rise and fall with youthful melody.

Odd: There’s space that sings the beauty of its own space within the space of this music.

The melodic density continues. “Nomads in the Light” is (sort of) acoustic-based folk music with a lot of sonic comfort on plush carpets that are rich in woven vibrations. Saxaphones puff in the layers of the tune. “We Deliver” has a deeper groove. It barely elevates itself above the lunar landscape, but it ends with a simple ditty of a cosmic refrain. That’s nice. And it emits a gravity heavy echo of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” while ditching the commercial “Ground Control to Major Tom” stuff. The same is true for the big guitar chords of “They Found Me Here,” which bleeds with bewitching and forlorn horns. It’s all very sad, in an ever-expanding way. Oddly, enough, it could almost be an outtake from King Crimson’s brilliant Islands record.

Now, “Build Me a Mystery” is sonic liftoff. The song pulses with the universe and delivers a computer’s thought of a melody. It’s not pretty. But it is interesting, like Pink Floyd’s “On the Run.”

The album is filled with grooved slow-danced breath.  The before-mentioned single, “Grace Notes,” barely moves but desperately attempts to explain the meaning of love, life, and a really nice dance. And the final song, “Merchandise,” simply extends the melodic march to its musical sobriety, which is a necessary observation from a bouncer who watches all the people with warm melodies who simply desire an equally warm drink.

This is a slow burn album. It’s a dense album that foams like a tap beer. It rumbles with electronics. It shakes with weird sounds, and it prays with the stars and then sweeps the bar room floor. The album simply explores humanity’s girth, while it also slowly sings the beauteous waves of the universe.

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