Nik Freitas

Heavy Mellow

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On Heavy Mellow, Nik Freitas comes into his own, expanding on the instrumentation of his debut for a true-blue pop album that grafts the indie smarts of Quasi to '70s AM rock and mellow gold collections. On his sophomore outing, Freitas comes closest in groove and pop eclecticism to Todd Rundgren. "Be Honest" has the fuzzy-around-the-edges heaviness of Something/Anything? combined with the slippery, jazzy hallmarks of Steely Dan. "Summer Hearts" is a beautifully nostalgic piano tune where Freitas moans "summer hearts can't be broken" as if he's trying to do John Lennon singing "Jealous Guy." On "Penny" he's probably shooting more for Mind Games crossed with early-'70s Elton John, and "Nursery Street" could easily fit on a Ryan Adams album. If Here's Laughing at You showed Freitas to have enormous potential, Heavy Mellow proves that he is, as promised, a brilliant pop tunesmith. His only failure on the romantic record would seem to be self-created: on "Sentimental Life" he sings, "I don't want to be a sentimental guy." Sorry Nik.

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