WL//WH Album Review: CORRECTIONS “Simply Activity”

WL//WH Album Review  Corrections

Photo by Patrick Smith

East London based Australian multi-instrumentalist Sam Nicholas’ project Corrections is a delve into New Wave nostalgia not quite like any other artist. With a Euro soup of musicians, namely Lukas Jakubenas on bass and Constantine Chatziviltsos (aka Flower Vision) on guitar, his travel to another side of the world has captured a missing element of the current melancholy trap in music. It’s an approach to an era not quite done before: lo-fi new waves but with a twist.

At a time where looking backwards to eras we never lived, Nicholas captures a taste of what could now be considered a forgotten genre. The new wave bands in the 1980s, often overlooked today, were a key characteristic for modern pop music, yet never reaching beyond the thought of dance floor singalong killer. On his upcoming album “Simply Activity”, this idea explored, providing clear evidence this feeling is behind a 3 am night club affair.

At the heart of this project is the experimentation of synth, vocal tuning and dance guitar tones. It brings forth a soundtrack for that era in the music, where electronic and guitar music can meet in harmony.

While many artists today try to explore this sense of nostalgia, at times it can often fall short. Though age isn’t a factor, it’s as if some artists only know the theory, not the practice. For “Simply Activity”, it engages these emotions to the point each track could find itself supporting a film from the era; enough synth to drive emotion with enough real instruments to make it realistic.

The tracklisting offers an array of shifts from style within this time in music. The big stand out tracks like ‘If I’m Being Inappropriate’, ‘Diaphora’ and instrumental ‘Remora’ are insights into what is laid out above; an ambitious array of songs that present how to explore the past of music.

Whilst in ways production isn’t to the quality of accessible music, the ambition found in each track is applaudable. It’s no accident things are how they are, it’s a matter of figuring out what works best. And with an album that explores so many boundaries, it’s a project worth waiting for. And in time it’s a project to watch.

As a first release, this is promising. With inspiration drawn from the great Nick Cave to modern contemporaries like Tame Impala, it’s a formula that has drive. For an album developed in the mind of a single individual, this is a very enjoyable listen. And most definitely a taste of what’s to come.

This is really enjoyable to listen; I would describe it as a lo-fi 80s new wave experience. I find a lot of the choices made in tone and direction rather unique, at least to what I’ve been hearing around lately. While a lot of artists today (big and small) are searching for some kind of nostalgia for a decade before their time, this feels on the mark. Listening closely, you could find each track in the background of a variety of movies from the era.

The tracklisting offers an array of shifts in style and tone within the blanket genre labelled above. A big stand out to me is ‘If I’m Being Inappropriate’, likely the most approachable track on the album. Same with ‘Comes Undone’, though this track is the start descent into somewhere else. Overall this shift takes place throughout the album, I would describe ‘Remora’ as the point where things start moving towards more experimental influences.

Corrections‘ sophomore album “Simply Activity” is out today, on ltd. Cassette and Digital, via TSV Records.

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Written by Donovan McComb-Gray

Photo by Patrick Smith