April 14, 2010

Test Spin: Justin Nozuka

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You I Wind Land and Sea may be Justin Nozuka’s sophomore album but he sounds like a seasoned pro from its opening note. Though he failed to break into the American Top 100 chart with his debut album Holly back in April 2008, Nozuka has been wholly embraced by his Canadian homeland, earning a Juno Award nomination for Best New Artist, and embarking on a nationwide tour with Marie Digby and Eric Hutchinson. The 21 year old released You I Wind Land and Sea to little fanfare, which is a shame given the album’s high quality of music. The songwriting on the album is, in a word, gorgeous. Nozuka has an acute ability to bottle emotions and release them as songs. On You I Wind Land and Sea, Nozuka expands his sonic pallet offering a more diverse collection of sounds. Opening track “Gray” infuses tribal drums to build momentum before a rhythmic breakdown. “Carried You” is a very jazzy track that feels inherently retro yet, simultaneously current.Every song on You I Wind Land and Sea is meticulously crafted but there are two clear standouts. “Woman Put Your Weapon Down,” is a rousing number about a girl prone to starting fights. The song showcases some nice falsetto from Nozuka and features a guitar solo reminiscent of John Mayer, who Nozuka drew comparisons to after Holly’s release. “Swan in the Water” is an ethereal piano number that builds progressively as Nozuka laments a lost love.The rest of the album would seem to indicate that Nozuka spent the last two years experiencing a myriad of highs and lows. “Love” is about the utterly consuming feeling that Nozuka had for a girl. But, it would appear as though things didn’t work out. On “Soulless Man” Nozuka asks for his soul back, hypothesizing that it may have fallen into her suitcase when she was packing to leave.Listening to You I Wind Land and Sea it’s hard to imagine Nozuka doing any else with his life, but music. He is a truly gifted man and this is a truly special album. A

Original Author: Wesley Ambrecht