Test Card – Rediffusion

test cardVancouver-based Lee Nicholson has joined forces with the terrific Greek label Sound In Silence. His second LP under the name Test Card is a polished downtempo effort that, despite its complexity, demonstrates a wonderfully light touch.

Nicholson’s sophistication is hard earned. In the 1990s, he fronted an English indie band called Formula One. Subsequent projects included Domestic4, Kooky, Fierce Panda and Liquefaction Empire. After a move to Vancouver in 2012, Nicholson recorded under the name Electrohome and joined Future Peasants.

All of that is to say that Nicholson is a seasoned artist who knows what it takes to hold an audience’s attention. Rediffusion does exactly that.

Too often, solo recordings are limited in scope. We hear a lot of artists who are skilled at producing electronic music, and perhaps have the capacity to add one or two additional sounds. But they tend not to move too far out of that comfort zone. These can be enjoyable records; they’re just not particularly well-rounded.

Nicholson incorporates guitar, bass, synths, electronics, drum machine samples and field recordings. He has a sharp compositional sensibility that incorporates all of the above, without overwhelming his listeners. The work breathes.

There are also one or two laughs on the track list. Titles like “Old Enough To Drink Sherry,” “Another Early Night” and “Be Home In Time For Tea” suggest Nicholson has left his indie rock days behind him in good humour.

This lavish, finely crafted set of 10 songs deserves a wide audience.

Kevin Press

 

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