Thursday, August 6, 2020
GIK Acoustics - Europe
GIK Acoustics - Europe
The Moshville Times

Review: Nick Johnston – Remarkably Human

This album was a bit of a curveball for me, as a fond admirer of the heavier side of metal I found myself out of my comfort zone jamming out to this odd blend of progressive classic rock with jazzy blues elements making themselves known.

I finally found there were two ways to listen to this. I had a quite forceful first approach which is obviously not how this should be experienced. As a result it came off almost in a “dad-rock” way. The following evening I put it on and anticipated what was coming which as a result meant it felt a lot more like a journey, the way it should be listened to. With this, it grew on me more with each listen. Whilst being an entirely instrumental record it is a very satisfying piece of work, quite mesmerising at times, an undeniable strength that this kind of music has over others. Nick shows off a very measured approach with Floyd-esque virtuosity and a dash of Bonamassa blues with jazzy undertones. A terrific mix of winners here.

It would be a lie to say that any one of the eight parts stood out as it should be listened to as one whole. Having said that it is important to note that each track complements the next, weaving this tapestry of a record. It is wrapped up brilliantly in “Sick and Injured Brain” with Nick playing around an airy riff with spoken dialogue over the top, purposefully making the audience the subject of the song with unknown voices saying “It’s almost like he’s listening to something”. And let me tell you, when you’re listening to that right in your ear at gone midnight it is terrifying! Very cleverly done and the highlight of the album, although it would be confusing without the rest of the album before it. At other points on Remarkably Human it is as though Nicks’ fingers are dancing on the fret-board, whilst at others he gives just as much focus to the gaps between the notes played which gives the music a whole new dimension. As much as I’d love to be able to dissect this work track by track it just isn’t happening.

It’s great to listen to an instrumental album like this these days, something entirely focused on the music. At points it does have a pop single vibe which only needs a prepubescent boy singing about how his life is over because that chick didn’t go to the big dance with him over the top to take it to number one. This feels more like art. Nick lets the guitars talk and it is refreshing. I feel that for the next album to go beyond this he needs to further develop his own little flair that rears its head at points.

The great mix of Floyd and Bonamassa that we have here with jazzy undertones is what I want to hear more on the next one. Remarkably Human is one of those pieces of work that just intrigue me. I’d love to get inside Nick’s brain here to see what’s going on with this album. However as that’s not possible I guess I’ll just put the album on again!

Nick Johnston: official | facebook | instagram | youtube

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