By Rob Nichols
'How Things Are Supposed To Be Done' is the latest offering from Leeds-based singer/songwriter Rob Nichols. It features nine original songs, all written by Nichols, and recorded live during April and May 2012 with a full band.
The whole album has a genuinely engaging feel to it, and the decision to record live lends the release to a warm, organic sounding production. The energy of a live performance is also ever present on the album, which is perfect as some of the songs could have sounded a bit droll if recorded in a sterile studio environment. You can hear so much of both Elliott Smith and Bob Dylan in Nichol's voice, the culmination of a lengthy list of influences gives him his own identity as a convincing songwriter.
The album showcases some well-crafted song-writing, but it's also quite inconsistent between tracks, a few songs feel dangerously close to being album fillers. He doesn't really stray from the avenue of soft and inoffensive folk-rock, but then again, he doesn't really need to. The album as a whole is pretty coherent, mainly because Nichols has kept a consistent style not only throughout the release, but also throughout his career, ever since his self-titled debut 11 years ago. Overall, it's an enjoyable and assured record with some decent songs and tasteful musicianship.
garage punk blues