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Friday, December 21, 2012

NIck Gilder - Frequency

Name: Nick Gilder
Album(s): Frequency
Year: 1979
Style: Glam, Power Pop
Similar Bands: Bowie, ELO, Big Star, Cheap Trick, Bad Finger, Jellyfish, Journey
"One-Word" Review: Catchy-As-Hell Build and Deliver Glam-Pop
Based Out Of: Vancouver, Canada
Label: Chrysalis
 Frequency - Cover & Record
Frequency - Back & Record
Frequency (1979)
  1. (You Really) Rock Me 2:45
  2. Time After Time 4:21
  3. Metro Jets 4:05
  4. Electric Love 3:10
  5. The Brightest Star 3:35/
  6. Watcher of the Night 3:41
  7. Worlds Collide 4:54
  8. Hold on Me Tonight 6:02
  9. Into The 80’s  2:53
Album Rating (1-10): 9.5

Members & Other Bands:
Nick Gilder – Vox (Sweeny Todd)
Peter Coleman - Producer
James McCulloch - Composer, Guitars
Jamie Herndon - Keys, Synth, Guitars, Backing Vox
Eric Nelson - Bass, Backing Vox
Craig Krampf - Drums, Percussion, Backing Vox
Doug Schwartz - Asst. Engineer
Lloyd Segal - Management
Barry Samuels - Management
Rod Dyer - Art Direction & Design
Mike Haggerty - Photography
CD Taylor - Photography

Unknownness: I’ve never heard of this band. But it looks sorta new wave, with the out of focus fuzzy TV screen, with the hint of a long haired man on the set. The cool colors of the TVs on the back also create the illusion of a power pop looking band, but the fuzzy TVs, aside from the album title of frequency seem to note lo-fi sound. I’m interested to see if this is a raw, sound exploration or if it really is power pop.

“(You Really) Rock Me” kicks off with a rowdy guitar hook, and gets even crazier hooky. Then the awesome vocals begin over a bouncy Elvis Costello style organ. Each different section of the song is catchier than the first. Then the chorus comes in, tying in the electric guitars with the super catchy and rollicking power pop of the verse & bridge. This formula weaves its way through, and this ends up sounding like a first rate track by the likes of Jellyfish. My version of the song skips, but it is still an amazing song, ending with a Queen like harmony of chanting the title.
“Time After Time” slows down a little, and is steeped in glam, with a whiny, stretched vocal. Backing synth is a swirling prog sound. The bridge is bold, and comes back with a harmonized chant. Then the chorus is the median between the verse and bold bridge. These are perfectly crafted pop songs. Production is top notch, and the sections are short, repetitive but so diverse that they are constantly interesting. They just keep chugging along and never let down. The synth in the back, now I’m getting a Cars feel, just pops in and out of the sound spotlight, adding more depth and another interesting aspect to listen out for.
“Metro Jets” begins slow, with what sounds like a Moog. The vocals are smooth and yet feminine. The teaser bridge shows a bit of boldness and strutting. The true bridge comes back, building to an anticipated catchy climax. And the chorus delivers with power and strength. The whining guitar in the background screams glam, and is utilized excellently here, and has to be borrowed from by the likes of Suede. This is such a great song that has the focus of building to a promised delivery of an excellent hook.
“Electric Love” begins with Bowie like vocals, if he’d be covering the Cars. It is paired with a great guitar sound that is tinny, yet hollow, but in a good way. The bridge is short, but powerfully fast, which slides right into the chorus that would fit right into a Fast Times at Ridgemont High love scene. After the instrumental, it is unsure if the chorus will come in powerful or smooth, but he chooses smooth and consistently builds in emotion.
“The Brightest Star” starts with a bluesy drum and bass, which quickly morphs into a power ballad with surprising fitting synth and whining guitar. Again, the bridge builds wonderfully into the chorus, which is a angelic choir overlaid with stepping and strutting confident vocals. Each section is so short, that the changes happen rapidly, and they are constantly interesting. The breakdown after the chorus reminds me of guitar from Big Star. And the vocals may or may not sound a bit like Rush here.

“Watcher of the Night” creaks onto the record with a motor growing louder and then chugging guitar and drums give the power pop nature of the song, with Cars “Just What I Needed” like two note guitar crunches. The main vocals are high and feminine as they have been, and a masculine chorus backs up. The chorus is fun, and reminds me a bit of journey, with out the note holding so much. There is a section of synthesized vocals filling in a verse. And the stop starting of the bridge pauses the song, creating the perfect atmosphere of the chorus delivery. Sure it is the same song writing trick, but it works every time. In this one, they even added synthesized horns in the background. Naturally, from the lyrics, I am reminded of Manfred Mann’s “Blinded by the Night.”
“Worlds Collide” comes into play with a solid drum intro. Guitars back it up, and the song is a sneering pop song, with a bit of a metal edge. It runs verse, false bridge (which kicks the song up an octave), verse, and true bridge, and then chorus. The lyrics are a little cheesy…“don’t keep secrets, make our worlds collide” but they are delivered passionately, and with an amazing confidence. The instrumental veers from the synth diddlings into an acoustic and all guitar section presentation of the same melody done with strings. There are also some great accenting piano key rolls.
“Hold on Me Tonight” begins with a gong. Then a ballady guitar hook, and a solid driving drum beat is laid down. Then, 37 second in, is perhaps the best guitar hook ever created. My version of the song skips, unfortunately. The band knows the guitar hook IS the chorus, as the crafted the song’s verse and bridge to lead up to the instrumental guitar chorus. The rest of the song is brilliantly sparse to showcase the hook. The bridge has a Bee-Gees like chorus of backing harmonies. Even after the short instrumental (without THE hook) the verse builds slowly up to the teaser bridge, which repeats rather than lets loose into the “chorus.” Then the last minute and a half is the hook layered over with arena chants, and a double guitar version of the hook with a higher octave guitar runs through. Then a synthesizer is added over top, even driving the hook further. Goddamn if they don’t abuse the hook. But the production rides it out into a fade.
“Into The 80’s” is dated, yes, but it is optimistic of what is to come, and is the most electronic of the songs. It reminds me a little of the Who’s 80’s period of disputed catalog. It is also a reflection of the past. The musical interludes feature angelic chants. There is no real chorus to this song, so it falls somewhat flat, but it is still a good bouncy song. It is short, and feels like it could have been longer, but they ran out of room. Anyway, I’m going back to that guitar hook/chorus.

Stand Out Track: (You Really) Rock Me, Metro Jets, Hold On Me Tonight

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