September 5, 2002

Test Spin: Nik Freitas

Print More

Former Thrasher magazine shutterbug Nik Freitas is perhaps one of the first new artists who’s been able to happily reconcile his pop songwriting sensibilities with what can only be characterized as lo-fi sound. With one foot planted firmly in the soil of post-Lennon pop and the other in good ol’ fashioned rock, Freitas moves past imitation with his debut and into something more profound: an indie record that doesn’t bash you over the head with overtly absurd lyrics and predictable melodies.

With a voice that registers somewhere between Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch and the aforementioned Mr. John Lennon, Freitas opens the album with “Pictures of the Sun,” an oddly upbeat tune that, like many of the songs on the album, sticks neatly into the wrinkles of your brain. In a world filled with predictable 3-minute angst-pop ballads, Freitas is a calming reminder that lo-fi doesn’t have to give you a headache to be enjoyed.

At its best, Here’s Laughing at You comes across as a labor of love, an optimistic collection that’ll have you hitting the repeat button. Songs like “Counting Yellow Lines” and “Check the Weather” showcase Freitas’s lyricism while “Hat Trick” and “Universal Buyout” keep you humming along. Where the album falters, it does so only moderately and with good humor — forgivable, as Freitas himself is only 23 years old. His youth also begs the question, “When is the sophomore album coming out?”

Archived article by Nate Brown