Review : Nick Frater – Earworms (2021)


Nick Frater is a Croydon based singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer who has recently released his latest album `Earworms` the follow up to his 2020 release `Fast & Loose`.

Nick has related that on this latest release “I wanted to make an album that sounds and feels like a lost treasure from the mid ’70s melodic rock scene,”

The album opens with `It`s All Rumours` a light kind of breezy pop aria that seems to highlight the unreliability of the media and what people are prepared to say. The chorus line is quite infectious and we have a slightly eclectic piano key segment in the latter section which put me in mind of the intricate offerings of seventies art rock band 10cc. We have another dream pop outing with `Buggin’ Out` which has some delightful jaunty guitar chords, doo-wop backing harmonies and even seems to share a slight tribute with a refrain that sounded similar to Buddy Holly`s `Raining In My Heart`, genius.

`What`s With Your Heavy Heart?` is a mesmerising listen which seems to be a number created to spread a little good cheer. The chorus had a slight Beatles / George Harrison vibe or maybe that`s just me. We also enjoyed a cracking guitar solo towards the later section. Strings and a synth swathe lead us into `Lucky Strike` before it becomes a mid-tempo toe tapper. At times it had me in mind of the quirky lovelorn numbers that pop/soft rock seventies maestro Gilbert O`Sullivan was so famous for.

`Star-Crossed` is a wistful absorbing ballad like offering with some misty quite playful harmonies and some meditative guitar chord riffs throughout. There`s a possible sideswipe on religious fanaticism with the almost psychedelic `Not Born Again” which enjoys some thumping drums courtesy of Nick Bertling.

` Desert Ships` is a quite philosophical musing on the legends about various historical maritime vessels having supposedly become stranded and subsequently lost in the deserts of the American Southwest. The number is quite piano driven with some captivating guitar chords which allows a platform for the singer`s mellow vocal delivery. I felt there was a larger than life texture to `The Unbroken` which seemed to be a tale of moving on from a relationship that hasn`t worked out. The resignation, acknowledgement and perhaps acceptance of situation almost feels tangible in the vocal delivery.

`Who Says I Need A Plan At All?` is another quite introspective submission which almost challenges the preconception that we all should have a plan for how we live our lives. Another larger than life, nigh on flamboyant musical meandering. The album closes out with the ballad like `How To Survive Somebody`. A charming whimsical composition that is up there with the fun and playful tunes that Queen created such as `Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon` or  ‘Seaside Rendezvous’ and a gratifying way to bring this release to a conclusion.

`Earworms` certainly is an earworm and has a number of  thoroughly enjoyable quirky quite eclectic pop rock tunes. This musical maverick persuaded a number of renowned musicians to guest on this tour de force including Roger Joseph Manning Jr. (Jellyfish/Beck), Darian Sahanaja (Wondermints/Brian Wilson), Mike Randle (Love/Baby Lemonade) and Dana Countryma.

For those in the UK, Harry Enfielld`s aging fictional disc jockeys Smashie and Nicey (Mike Smash and Dave Nice) would say this album is “poptastic”

Buy a copy and judge for yourselves.

Rating 8.5/10

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