Nik Freitas's solo debut is not what you might expect of a former chronicler of skateboarding culture (he was a staff photographer at Thrasher), until you learn that said chronicler has also been known to play the drums for such quirky indie pop acts as
For Stars and Matt Suggs. The Visalia, California native plays a lot more than just drums when making music on his own however, mapping out the skeletons of his whimsical off-kilter pop creations at the Rhodes piano which sits like shrine in the midst of the cyclonic disaster of records, skateboarding materials, film canisters, and empty beer cans that is his apartment. Those lazy, warbling keys go a long way toward establishing the mood of Freitas's mellow but consistently unpredictable pop songs, hearkening back to the sun-baked West Coast psychedelia of the late '60s and the gentle AM radio fare of the early '70s. Recorded with childhood friend and occasional band mate Aaron Estes, Freitas's tunes are rooted in mainstream pop, but they're filled with unexpected lyrical turns, nods to other genres, and sly tongue-in-cheek theatrics which make them anything but conventional. Freitas recorded his first album, Here's Laughing at You, on the DL, sneaking into unlocked rehearsal spaces at the local community college at night, but the results are surprisingly polished. While Nik Freitas's sound might bring to mind a diverse group of other artists -- Wings, Bread, Randy Newman, Built To Spill -- it's his own uncanny talent for crafting strange and engaging pop songs that grabs you in the end.
Here's Laughing at You