Nicholson, Greg - 2000 The High Trapeze

ARTIST: Nicholson, Greg
ALBUM: The High Trapeze
LABEL: U4EA Entertainment
YEAR: 2000

LINEUP: Greg Nicholson - vocals, guitars * Michael Starr - guitars * Hilary Jones - drums * Danny Leoni - bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stare * 02 You've Got A Way * 03 Grace * 04 Undertow * 05 Beautiful Disaster * 06 Ultra Fine * 07 Shelter * 08 Home Again * 09 Impossibly Blue * 10 Right Here Right Now * 11 Lost * 12 Run To You


From his press bio, you get the feeling that LA's Greg Nicholson has no illusions about how tough it is to make the breakthrough in the music business: 'I can't take any of this stuff too seriously anymore', he says, 'I just want to make the best music I can, music that speaks to people and makes people feel good'.

In some ways it's refreshing that Greg doesn't inflict reviewers with a press bio full of hyperbole and exaggeration, but at the same time you get the distinct feeling that this honest, some might say resigned attitude doesn't do him or his third album, 'The High Trapeze' any favours.

It's not a bad record by any means, but after a few spins it reveals a few clues as to why Greg, from his own admission isn't waiting for a barrage of phone calls from A&R execs.

The Songs

Opener 'Stare' starts things off promisingly yet offers little to support the solo artist's assertion that his music is Matchbox 20 meets Vertical Horizon. Instead, it's more of a straight-ahead arrangement and pop/rock song that is melodic and catchy, yet missing that extra something that separates good songs from great ones.

Following track, 'You've Got A Way' with a groovy verse and rocking chorus has the kind of punch the opener lacks. Next Up is 'Grace', a mid-paced ballad reflecting on lost love and a nice song that falls down with the inclusion of such cliched lyrics as ' I guess there's nothing that lasts forever/except for the wind and sea/I know I should move on/but the feeling is so strong/that you and I were meant to be'. Come on, haven't we heard this somewhere before?

Indeed the problem I have with the album is that it is lyrically uninspiring and tends to trample the well-worn AOR subject paths of lost and unrequited love once too often.

Songs such as 'Home Again', 'Lost' and 'Run To You' offer nothing different or out of the ordinary and let down the second half of an album that might have been improved with a few co-writes here and there to freshen things up.

However the trio of 'Undertow' 'Beautiful Disaster' and 'Ultrafine' offer the most promise of all the tracks on 'The High Trapeze', displaying the right amount of slamming rock and modern edges.

'Ultrafine' in particular is bold enough to take a few chances and in creating an atmospheric, slightly different feel-good tune, manages to get away with them. A few more like this would have been a treat.

In Summary

It's clear there's no lack of talent here, as Greg produced, played and sang on most of the album himself. What's missing is a vitality and vibe exciting enough to fulfill that promise, as on the whole the record is characterised by perspiration rather than inspiration.

Greg is expressive enough to realise he wants his music to speak to people, but from listening to 'The High Trapeze', maybe it needs to tell them something different.

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