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RHYTHMS, FEB 2013 (FRIEND AND LOVER)
It has been a while since Nick and Liesl last released any new music, and I was starting to wonder when I would hear something new from them again. Lo and behold here it is. Descried as an “in-betweener”, the sweet sounding duo has released a 5-track EP to satiate the appetites of fans between albums, and they have done it well.
After reviewing their 2011 album Feather, I must admit that I had some expectations when listening to Friend and Lover. Occasionally, expectations with music are dangerous, but luckily they were met. Nick and Liesl have delivered, again.
The title track is very reminiscent of Feather. Nick’s bright insightful lyrics, Liesl’s harmonies and the steady toe-tapping pace pull you in, and take you back. Everything works.
The second track on the EP, “Raphaël”, takes you by surprise but a pleasant one at that. A French revelation, Liesl’s voice is crisp and sharp, yet effortless. Even if you don’t understand French, the beauty of the language and her voice combined is wonderfully captivating. Another enjoyable surprise was the choice to cover John Mayer’s ‘Your Body is A Wonderland’. To be completely honest, I never would have expected Nick and Liesl to do this, but it left a smile on my face. Again, their harmonies just work! Bright, bubbly, and it fit right into their style.
Throughout the EP, again Liesl’s voice is graceful and wonderfully natural, while Nick’s is just as effortless. Together, they create something superb. As an acoustic album, it does everything right. Covers, originals, old and new songs. If only it was longer. For now, my appetite for Nick and Liesl’s music has been satisfied, but I look forward to hearing more of them in the future.
ITS MY KIND OF SCENE, JAN 2013 – 5/5 (FRIEND AND LOVER)
What do you do when you get knocked back on a grant to record a new album? If you’re Nick Everitt and Liesl Karlsson, you put your home recording skills to good use and produce an acoustic EP so good, you’d think they’d recorded it in some swanky studio in Santorini with Quincy Jones on production duties. I’m just saying the quality is excellent on Nick and Liesl’s Friend and Lover EP, which is sure to leave fans of the duo very happy while hopefully winning over some new ones too. More fans means less need to apply for grants which means a new album for our listening pleasure. My logic is sound. Opening with the title track, ‘Friend and Lover’ almost works as a bridge between debut album Feather and the next stage of their journey. It wouldn’t have been out of place on their debut; a lovely song about love, Nick and Liesl being all cute and vocally talented, Everitt’s open and honest writing style on display. Standard Nick and Liesl music goodness. Then ‘Raphaël’ happened and with one brazen, out of left field Carla Bruni cover I’m left blown away by their ability to find new ways to impress (and show off a little!). A complete departure from the sound I’ve come to expect in the most stunning way, Liesl gets her French on with the lustful ‘Raphaël.’ It’s deserving of an immediate second play.
LITTLE BOOM MUSIC Live Review – Nick and Liesl @ Fitzroy Workers Club 10 February 2013
Tuesday, 26 February 2013 By Scott Gollan
I’d been anticipating seeing Nick & Liesl live for a while now and earlier this month I caught them playing at The Workers Club in support of their latest EP Friend and Lover. For the gig the band room was transformed. Chairs were laid out and the windows were slightly ajar, allowing just the right amount of light in to create a relaxed and intimate setting.
Evan & Mischa were playing when I arrived and instantly I was impressed by their skill. The duo performed traditional folk music on the flute and guitar and their live show was truly a unique experience.
Following Evan & Mischa were main act Nick and Liesl and with their drum kit, keyboard and acoustic guitars in place, they were ready to perform. Nick and Liesl opened with an affectionate start and played Missing You, Your Body Is A Wonderland and Feather and after hearing these songs, the afternoon melted away into bliss.
Throughout the gig Liesl moved from her keyboard to guitar with ease whilst Nick switched between drums and his guitar without missing a beat. The sound on the day was rich and seeing the duo live revealed that they are as they appear on their recordings, vocally strong and exceptional with their instrumentation.
Soft harmonious songs Skipping Seasons, Friend and Lover and Raphaël were interlaced with lively guitar strummed and floaty piano tracks like Most Of My Life and Your Heart In My Hands, and this balance between the styles really hit the spot!
The stories Nick & Liesl told throughout the gig connected with the audience and their songs were very relatable. Nick & Liesl celebrate music and this has a positive effect on the listener and after hearing some of the after show chatter amongst the crowd, I think it’s safe to say that all who attended thoroughly enjoyed themselves!
LITTLE BOOM MUSIC, FEBRUARY 2013 (FRIEND AND LOVER)
When I listen to the next installment from a group I like to hear a progression and I also want to be surprised by something unexpected. Nick & Liesl’s new EP Friend and Lover caters to all of these needs!
The EP’s title track brings a Summer vibe that you can easily chill out to and songs Missing You and Skipping Season exhibit the honed skills of Nick & Liesl and leave one with the thoughts that they are really mastering their craft.
Now for the unexpected and to note, I’m not one for covers that are just replicated but I’m extremely taken when the singer has re worked the track and made it their own. Through their vocal style and instrumentation Nick & Liesl’s version of John Mayers Your Body Is A Wonderland and Raphaël by Carla Bruni have become the duo’s own and they impress!
For a home recording I was rapt by the quality of the EP and it unveils a technical side of Nick & Liesl that’s inspiring. I see the restraints of studio time lifted, which has resulted in a personal recording that’s sure to touch your heart.
RHYTHMS, MAY 2011 (FEATHER)
I listened to it a countless number of times, and every time I found myself looking forward to hearing the first track ‘Most of My Life’ over and over. Actually sometimes I’d just skip back to it, it’s really that good. The lyrics are light and carefree while the tune is uplifting and catchy. All you want to do is sing. Feather swings back and forth from toe-tapping acoustic to slower full band songs throughout the 13 tracks of amazing lyrics and sound. Honestly Feather is one of the best albums I’ve heard in forever, from this genre.
Nick and Liesl’s unique sound falls into the genres of acoustic/alternative/folk. Their harmonising and the way they play off each other’s voice gives them a distinct and recognisable sound. Think Angus and Julia Stone but more mature, and I’ll dare say, better.
Much like their 2008 EP, Wyong River, Feather was mostly recorded in their home studio. Their contagious positivity and catchy melodies have attracted band members like Paul Kelly’s drummer Pete Luscombe, Kasey Chambers’ bass player Jeff McCormack, and guru guitarist Glen Hannah joining the duo on their album, proving they’re the little band that can.
The track that is most unique from the others is ‘Witch’s Brew’. Liesl’s voice has a crisp chill in it, resembling that of Alison Krauss on her album Raising Sand with Robert Plant. Her pitch and tone just has that chilling but sweet sound that gives you shivers, along with lyrics like “Dying trees and paint that’s peeling, ‘ Cause Mama’s busy and Daddy’s sleeping, There’s a weed full of garden waiting for your rain, and there’s no use crying things will never change.”
Acoustic, folk or alternative – whatever you prefer – Nick and Liesl’s album Feather is definitely worth the time to sit down and listen to.
- NADA VAN KEMPEN
REVERB, JUNE 2011
This debut album from central coast folk duo Nick and Liesl is a classy follow-up to their 2008 EP Wyong River. On first listen, it’s a tough choice as to which is the standout: the gob-smackingly powerful and melodic vocals – think Angus Stone/Katie Noonan – or the first-class sound production, topped off with thoughtful lyrics, fine musicianship and the album’s wonderfully eclectic folk/pop/soul style. Like Wyong River, which earned an ABC Award for sound production, Feather was crafted in the pair’s backyard studio and features a slew of über-talented collaborators, including Paul Kelly/Rockwiz drummer Pete Luscombe, Kasey Chamber’s bass player, Jeff McCormack and country guitar maestroGlen Hannah. Crown amongst the jewels? The slinky ‘Witch’s Brew’ – a simply beautiful song on this simply beautiful album.
- CRAIG FAULKNER
DB MAGAZINE, JULY 2011
Nick and Liesl’s debut full-length album, ‘Feather’, is a mature and polished collection of folk-pop songs with minimal instrumentation and emphasis placed on their dual harmonies. Whilst the easiest comparison might be to Angus & Julia Stone, Nick and Liesl’s lyrics eschew the hippy mysticism of the Stone siblings and instead focus on the grounded reality and earthy qualities of everyday life’s natural beauties. It is a versatile and appealing set of songs that is likely to be as much at home by the sea as it is high up in the hills.
Throughout the album, the harmonic combinations of Nick and Liesl’s voices carry these songs. They sit naturally together in close harmony and require little instrumentation beyond acoustic guitar, piano and light drums to embellish them. The arrangements are subtle and tasteful, allowing the smallest details to emerge rich with character.
Nick and Liesl’s songs are accessible and very much pop-friendly thanks to the magnificent hooks that announce the arrival of choruses in songs such as It’s Better To Have Loved and Love And Affection. Opening track Most Of My Life is a joyous affirmation of their love for music, whilst Love And Affection endorses similar feelings towards family. There are darker moments such as the jazz-tinged Silent Ships, but Nick and Liesl are far from your typical gloomy folk duo, with rays of hope always shining through even the darkest of tunes. Shines Like Gold even touches on a bit of bluesy soul.
‘Feather’ is a lovingly crafted group of songs by a talented and passionate pair of songwriters with beautifully intuitive voices. Its relaxed atmosphere and home-grown themes of love, life and family make it an ideal Sunday driving album.
- AARON NASH
THEDWARF.COM.AU, MAY 2011
WOW! That’s how I felt when I started this review, and that’s definitely how Feather will leave you feeling. Feather is the alternative/folk duo Nick and Liesl’s debut album.
I instantly fell in love with their music, as it’s heavily influenced by the alternative/folk scene in my home town. I loved their vibe and the earthy feeling you get from the get go.
Nick and Liesl have come a long way since 2008, when they released their debut EP Wyong River. The whole album shows a range of stripped back folk, alternative, pop and soul genres, as well as a great range of vocal capabilities for these two talented artists.
“Sing Sing” is a demonstration of perfect harmonies and a laid back folkie vibe. The first track off the album, “Most Of My Life”, shows the lyrical genius of the pair, as well as some beautiful harmonies with stripped back folk tunes and an earthy upbeat tempo.
The guitar work and the vocal harmonies are what I fell in love with when listening to this album for the first time, and I can tell you, Feather is all I have been listening to for quite some time, the easy listening qualities and calming vocals are what makes them a great duo. Get out there and see these guys live, I know I will be when they are touring Victoria.
- LUCINDA GOODWIN
COUNTRY UPDATE, JUNE 2011
Well it’s 2011 and we are once again wash with young new folk singer/songwriters; there are probably more poetic acoustic balladeers around right now than in the great 60’s folk boom that gave us Dylan, Seeger and Baez. As always there are a few acts that can’t find a genre to fit into and are happy to land anywhere there’s a willing audience. Talented duo from the NSW Central Coast Nick and Liesl are one such act – not folk, country, R&B or pop, yet touching base with all of them at some point, while playing their own distinct brand meticulously crafted acoustic based music.
Feather the debut album from this pair follows their 2008 EP Wyong River and shows them to be both very capable poetic and melodic songwriters and captivating vocalists with a sibling like capacity for natural harmony. Recorded primarily at their home studio and utilising the additional talents of Paul Kelly’s drummer Peter Luscombe, Glen Hannah (Kasey Chambers) on guitars and bass player and studio/mastering engineer Jeff McCormack they have crafted an album of high quality production values. ‘Silent Ships’ brings to mind early solo Paul Simon or a less experimental Sufjan Stevens; Liesl’s thoughtful and introspective approach ranges from the plaintive folk of ‘Does it matter’ to the beguiling ‘Witch’s Brew’ reminiscent of early Laura Nyro.
There’s the occasional veering off into some Nick led pop/R&B influenced grooves on ‘Mistakes Happen’, ‘It’s Better to Have Loved’ and ‘Shines Like Gold’ but otherwise the musical landscape is generally a place where plaintive piano figures and acoustic guitars dance delicately around thoughtfully constructed melodies in an effortless mix of introspective poetic musings and sparkling musical invention.
- KIM CHESHIRE
IT’S MY KIND OF SCENE, AUGUST 2012
- MATTHEW BOND
LITTLE BOOM MUSIC, OCTOBER 2012
After listening to Feather it comes as no surprise to me that Nick and Liesl are constantly booked for festivals and are able to live the dream travelling their music, as the songs that the duo write put you in high spirits.
On the album there’s songs that have a folk essence about them like Most Of My Life, which is very appealing and there’s also tracks like Feather and Witch’s Brew that are slightly haunting and evoke strong emotion.
Love ditties Silent ships and Your Heart In My Hands catered to my sensitive side and left me pondering on just how good life is and the country pop track In gaol took the tempo up and added a charming element to the broad range of music heard on the album.
Vocally, whether Nick’s taking the lead or Liesl, there’s power in each song and it’s quite clear that the two are in harmony. In the singer songwriter category, I’d have to place this album very high on the list!