Nic Oliverio Half-Priced Alibis

Canadian Nic Oliverio’s release, Half-Priced Alibis is a plain-looking, dark red covered, four-track EP that shows promise but also exhibits the usual flaws of an independently released singer-songwriter debut. All four tracks on the disc are penned and performed by Oliverio, though his friend Cory Williams stepped in to produce as well as contribute bass guitar, percussion and some backing vocals. The result is a stripped-down, almost-folky, alt-pop, one-man effort. The second track,"El Color De Su Amor,” sung entirely in Spanish, is the lone standout cut; its traditional ethnic flavour draws the listener in and whisks them away to a different place (even with the language barrier). The remaining three guitar and lyrics-driven songs, unfortunately, less so. It is obviously that Oliverio can write lyrics and music, but this EP lacks an English-language "it” song that will get listeners singing or humming along or at the very least playing the album again and again. Oliverio has a good, solid voice, and it will be interesting to see if his full-length follow-up (to be completed sometime this year), will also lean towards slow to mid-tempo, introspective songs. While not a groundbreaking first effort, the inclusion of a couple of cleverly-inserted hooks on future discs, might well get Oliverio some exposure on contemporary mainstream radio. (Independent)