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Words & Numbers by Rob Nichols

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Reviewed on 5th July 2006.


Words & Numbers

By Rob Nichols

"Words & Numbers" is the first single to be lifted from Nichols' new album "Small beer". Handed the award for Open-Mic Performer of the year at this year's Independent Leeds Music Awards it might be fair to expect something a little more daring from this release. Nichols inhabits a musical landscape coloured by the likes of Neil Young but where the roads are very straight, the windows smartly dressed and the clothes are worn for comfort rather than fashion. In a Leeds Scene swamped with bands and artists attempting to stand out from the crowd by their hairstyle, stupid spelling of their name, flouting for grammar and the way they pass their instruments through a mangle it is ironic that Nichols should be so noticeable by his completely average country tinged rock. Not average in a disparaging way but in the way that would make him comfortable fodder for the conservative listeners to Radio 2. Technically smart and well crafted songs but totally tired territory where the ruts in the road are so deep it is hard to distinguish one foot print from another.



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On 6th July 2006 at 05:59 Anonymous 660 wrote...

A very disappointing review from Garnett. He appears to be so unimpressed with the single that he doesn't bother to review it; instead he chooses to show how cool he is by denouncing the genre as completely average country tinged rock.

Although complimentary in part, any compliments are back-handed and Garnett tries to distance himself from giving the reader any impression that there might be anything worthwhile in Nichols' music - "Nichols was HANDED the award" (he didn't win it)

"Technically smart and well crafted songs but totally tired territory "

Back to the review of the single - it doesn't exist. There is no discussion of what is good or bad in either of the songs, in fact little to show that Garnett had listened to either of them.

By contrast, the reviews by Sam Sauders in [url=http://www.whisperinandhollerin.com/reviews/review.asp?id=3109] Whisperin and Hollerin[/url] and Bob Henderson in [url=http://www.studentguru.co.uk/musicguru/cdreviews/RobNichols]Music Guru[/url] take the time to discuss both songs, their lyrics, performance and production.

Both Henderson and Saunders were impressed by both songs on the release and took the time to share their impressions with their readers.

""Words and Numbers" has the timber-framed resonance of respectful Americana. From the guitar solo to the movie-voice samples the frontier openness is lovingly added to a rather English song of reluctant self-discovery and tentative hope" (Sam Saunders)

"A different approach is taken on 'For Someone', a much more mellow affair which musically at least pays homage to the likes of Elliott Smith. Effects on the guitar give a slightly woozy, dream-like feel to proceedings, and his on-the-verge-of-tears vocals top it off brilliantly:

"Some of the same things that bring me down, I sometimes find strength in / Some are worth nothing, you were worth every one."

Moving, evocative stuff." (Bob Henderson)

But even had they not liked the songs, I would have hoped that they would have gone into the same depth with their treatment of them.

I started by saying that this was a disappointing review.

I suppose I was expecting something with more substance from the guy who was handed the award for best writer at the Independent Leeds Music Awards


On 6th July 2006 at 07:38 Dave LMS wrote...

Every writer's reviewing style is different, and some writers go for the higher level approach to describe a band or musician's music - without over analysing and describing each track.

So long as each approach gives the reader an idea of what to expect from the CD/band/musician then it's job done - leaving it to the reader to a) decide whether it something they might like and b) decide on their own whether they like the CD or not (once purchased).

If you agree with this then Rick has done the job and it's now in the hands of the reader to decide whether to progresss to buying a copy or catching the musician live.

Personally, as a reader (and writer) I prefer to read (and write) the former, the shorter version of reviews that do not analyse on a track-by-track basis.

In the end, it's all down to what you expect from a review.


On 6th July 2006 at 08:00 Anonymous 30 wrote...

It's clear what you expect from a review from the fact that your response is longer than the review itself. It's sad that I am not allowed to have an opinion on a set of songs which simply didn't inspire me. I never try to appear "cool" and I am always honest in my assessment. If you don't think that is the case then you are basically insinuating I am a liar and what kind of person that makes you I'm not sure. One who doesn't take any form of criticism particularly well I guess. Good luck to you and Rob and pity anyone else who doesn't share your opinion.


On 6th July 2006 at 11:16 Anonymous 5575 wrote...

Right, here's my twopennys worth...

I fully defend the reviewers right to say what he does, it's the democratic way, if you will. However, I would like to put my viewpoint. It is true a lot of bands in leeds work very hard on image, to make themselves stand out. But for me, at least, this is always secondary to the quality of the music. To be honest iLiKETRAiNS is a really awful name, but musically I rate them very highly indeed, particularly live. Now, Rob chooses not to do the eye-catching marketing. I think he's right not to, as it doesn't suit his music. I know Rob well, and for him, its all about the song. I really like it, and I am not biased because he is a friend. I won't pretend to like a song/artist, be they stranger or best friend. I know a lot of people who do like the song as well. I think Rob is an excellent musican, and this single one of the best things he has done. I've heard the album, and it is a fine piece of work, and a step up in quality from earlier works.

So, there you go! Some like, some don't. Reviews are important, but inevitably they will divide opinions.

I suggest people check the single out for themselves. Because, ultimately, the best opinion in music is your own. Review are a guide, not gospel.


On 6th July 2006 at 11:58 Dave LMS wrote...

"Because, ultimately, the best opinion in music is your own. Review are a guide, not gospel."



On 6th July 2006 at 12:23 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Well said Mr Moley


On 6th July 2006 at 15:22 Anonymous 3028 wrote...

I've heard the song...

And I think its SHIT!!!

Sorry :-D

Don't take things so personal. I'm sure "Garnett" as you call him couldn't care less that you think his review is shit.

P.S I haven't heard the single yet I'm sure it's wonderful, groundbreaking, inspiring. :-D


On 6th July 2006 at 23:09 Anonymous 660 wrote...

Oh dear.

I'd probably prefer to do this via pm's but there are a couple of public comments I want to reply to.

you are basically insinuating I am a liar


pity anyone else who doesn't share your opinion.

Point 1- No, I didn't

Point 2- I'm puzzled where Garnett gets this from - NEGATIVE reviews are useful in that they give the artist ideas to work with. For me, maybe it relates to part of my schooling, I enjoy discussions with people who don't share my opinion; I find the discourse stimulating

Anybody who puts his or her art out to the public should be prepared to accept negative reviews.

This includes reviewers.

This is a negative review of Garnett's review.

It is not a personal attack on his ability as a reviewer; just that, in this particular case I thought the review was poor.


On 7th July 2006 at 07:49 Anonymous 30 wrote...

Yes you are right I am wrong. etc. etc. Of course you weren't having a go.



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