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Stomping Nick - Album Review: Shake For Your Cake

08 Jul 2016 // A review by Andrew Smit

There is a one-man band with a difference, someone in 2016 who is not utilising technology or even a drum machine to back him, oh no Stomping Nick is all Nick, he sings, plays harmonica, the guitar and drums all at the same time, and his new album Shake Your Cake was even recorded that way! With all but one song on the album recorded "live" in one take, so what you hear is the real sound of Nick's songs as he performs them, the only thing missing is an audience's applause, but he sure does deserve some applause. Nick is a truly gifted musician with incredible dexterity and stamina, just the fact he can achieve this multi-instrumental performance is impressive, but the songs are so complete as well, they are very catchy and full of high energy blues that sound near faultless and in no way lacking from the absence of a full backing band.

While seated Nick plays his guitar and his harmonica, and the drums are played with his feet, so the beats mostly consist of a good kick to a bass and snare drum, hence each track has a rather unavoidable stomping beat. There are no cymbal splashes or drum rolls or fills, but Nick more than makes up for this by singing his lyrically powerful songs with a strong emotionally charged voice. In between his singing Nick's harmonica playing is an incredible treat too, best highlighted in the superb Coopers Creek a rollicking feverish brut of a song, that showcases his awesome harmonica talent. But it's the gritty texture and powerful emotion of his singing that is a real highlight, his potent vocal work helps give contrast to each track, and in the end the guitar and drums tend to be a very sturdy backing rhythm.

The first track The Devil Likes to Boogie is fast and full character, with gritty guitar and singing that hook you in with its catchy melody and relentless energy. Most tracks are driven with a powerful rock sound that skirt the edges of punk with some boyish aggressiveness, but never too serious and always upbeat. Nick does waiver from the rock blues sound in songs like Porter No More a deep and moody number with its breathy chanting and prison blues harmonica capping it off perfectly. The repeated rhythmic fingerpicking riff in The Dust is Blowing is a pleasurable and mesmerising departure from the usual guitar strums too.

Occasionally you do wonder how good some songs would sound with bass and a full drum kit, such is the great feelings some songs implant in your brain, but you can tell each song has been refined and perfected for his one man abilities and they sound right. Each song is well structured and on repeated listening's you notice the subtle changes and expressive lifts and turns he executes with skill and flair, making you appreciate even more the music he has produced, its so impressive you will soon be looking at the gig guides to experience a Stomping Nick performance live, I know I am.

 

About Stomping Nick

Stomping Nick Jackman is a one-man-band from Lyttelton, New Zealand, who fuses primitive garage punk with rhythm and blues, boogie-woogie and Appalachian folk. His sound has been described as “pounding rhythms, searing blasts of harmonica, and a gutsy roar that reach back decades beyond the last fad.”

Stomping Nick sings and plays harmonica, guitar and drums all at the same time, the old school way, without the aid of loop pedals, backing tracks, or any of those other fancy tricks. The harmonica is Nick’s weapon of choice and a number of influences shape his harmonica style. As well as the blues harp masters such as Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson, other influences as diverse as metal guitar and bluegrass fiddle can be heard when Stomping Nick gets his jaw swinging. Underpinning the harmonica, Nick’s feet and hands provide a solid rumble of drums and growling guitar to get the people in the groove, while he sings, amongst other things, songs about trains and trainwrecks, magic whiskey, getting high, sinking low, and dancing with the devil.


Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Stomping Nick

Releases

Shake For Your Cake
Year: 2016
Type: Album

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