Nik Freitas Here's Laughing at You

Definitely not the recording you would expect from the world's leading skateboard photographer (Nik is a photographer for Thrasher Magazine), this effort is surely not something that would fly in the boombox of most skateboarders, but it is actually not bad driving music, if it were on a mix tape. Think somewhere between the seriousness of Elliot Smith and the quirkiness of Sean Lennon, Destroyer and Ben Lee and you'll know Nik's delivery is honest but not exceptionally groundbreaking. Musically, there are leanings toward '60s and '70s Britpop, folky singer/songwriter material, like Smith's, and even the odd grungy accent - the one-sheet says Built to Spill, but I'm also inclined to add that it's with the posturing of, say, some of the earliest Radiohead material. The lyrics are witty, at times, but not what one would call catchy. There is a sweet song called "Counting Yellow Lines," about driving across Canada, presumably to meet a loved (or hated?) one. His lyrics, it must be said, do have a vague and foggy quality to them, which is at times enthralling. Featuring solid song structures that smack of something of a creative vision afraid to crawl out of its hole, this debut album simply comes off as repetitive. The fact that Freitas played and sang every note on this album makes me think that if maybe he brought in a songwriting partner to help him bring some of his ideas to better fruition, the sophomore effort may get better air. (Future Farmer)