Nowicki. - Initiation - Stereo Stickman

Nowicki. Initiation


Nowicki.’s album Initiation has an easy access feel that lets its songs pour through in a relatable, quickly warming way. At the same time, there are certain unexpected elements that appear throughout – moving the music away from the initially apparent soft-rock categories and into something more of an Americana or even Gospel aura. This becomes a flicker of originality that works greatly in the project’s favour.

All About You is the opener and is everything above and more. The song has the simplicity of a familiar classic, the leading voice presents something of a guy-next-door sound, but in among this – these vocal choruses bring so much soul and togetherness to the stage. Afterwards,
Make This Feeling Stay redirects the musical mood once again, though there’s a recognisable trait to the leading voice now, and perhaps to the lyrical story-telling. This second song feels far more Beach Boys than the somewhat Simon and Garfunkel-like opener, it’s a definite early highlight for its energy and its hook. Eclecticism comes through in subtle but certain layers throughout this album.

The Blade is a song that creates a thoughtful ambiance around you, within which these incredibly intriguing lyrics draw you in and work hard to keep you captivated throughout. The details and the imagery are intense and impossible to ignore, yet there’s something surprisingly calm about the verse vocals. This adds further intrigue as well as effectively paving the way with the right level of contrast to make sure those hook sections have impact. Writing-wise, things take a turn for the far more interesting here – you’re likely to feel more inclined to listen intently as things progress.

Breaking Out brings a little brightness and rhythm back to the stage, the Americana and the joyfulness return to offer a memorable, uplifting, nostalgic classic with a great groove. Dark Blue follows and leads with a thoughtful piano part and some accompanying, again unexpected, strings. The leading voice feels like that of a crooner now, whispered and seductive, directed at a significant other. It feels like a hit from a long time ago, but freshly crisp and easy to escape into.

Adding immensely to the eclecticism is the song Biggleson’s Emporium. A bright and bold musicality emerges in a child-like fashion, bounding through the room and creating a family friendly sense of rhythm. The leading vocal fits among this perfectly, delivering the song in a mildly theatrical manner that suits the story-line well. You start to wonder about the thought process or experiences that led to this album and to these particular songs being brought together and united. Perhaps it’s simply to outline an inherent and willing connection to music and the very art of creativity. Perhaps it’s more conceptual and relative to this concept of being initiated. To each listener their own interpretation.

Love Is ‘Round the Corner introduces a retro rock and roll vibe to the project and yet another colourful, hopeful melody line and story to match. The hook makes certain to leaves its mark after you’ve heard it even just once. The modern references remind you of the freshness, keeping things relevant, and implying or even proving that music of this nature is truly timeless and effective in any era.

Following the upbeat vibrancy of what came before, Conversation mellows the mood and proceeds to captivate with another detailed story. The later sections bring the singer into the process, making it feel personal, questioning the ways of the world and the people within it in a manner that reaches out and connects with our inner desires to ponder. All Or Nothing follows and brings the project to a finish with a totally unpredictable dash of retro electronic rock. Even in this setting, the leading voice and the way the lyrics are built up in such a clear-cut, scenic manner is undeniably relevant to the threads that hold this album together.

Initiation feels like a playlist or a mix-tape, even a greatest hits collection, far more than a single album release. The songwriting has a definite aura about it that you quickly come to recognise as being Nowicki. There’s also plenty of musical flair to dive in and appreciate. Easily worth exploring.

Stream the album on Spotify.

Rebecca Cullen

Founder & Editor

Founder, Editor, Musician & MA Songwriter

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