[REVIEW] Places – March

Nico Giarrano has been releasing music as Places for a little while now, but it’s strictly been in song or EP form.  March is his first attempt at stringing together a full set of songs, and it’s an appropriate compendium of what has made all his previous releases so appealing.  He’s working with a lo-fi canvas, but he’s painting with an eye for detail.  There are layers here that belie that modesty of a one-man bedroom pop project.

Opener “Distinguished Critter” begins with with a stuttering electronic pulse that melts into the background once the drums kick in and cut through the haze.  It achieves the warm balance between electronic and organic instrumentation that Dan Snaith has always been so good at exploiting in Caribou/Manitoba, where drums and guitars exist happily beside synthetic sounds.  “Grey Matter” is heavy on the acoustic guitar, but it still sounds like it belongs on the same album as the synth-driven “Blond Hair.”  There are a few left turns – “Can’t Stand It” is a straightforward rocker where Nico submits to the guitar hero within, and “Electronic Music” sounds like rockabilly recorded on an iPhone – but everything plays out in the same relaxed mood.

You know how it feels to sit on a covered porch while it’s raining?  When you’re staying warm and dry while buckets of water are coming down feet or even inches away?  I love that feeling.  That’s what this album sounds like.

You can download March at Places’ Bandcamp page.  It’s a pay-what-you-want kind of thing.  Stream “Distinguished Critter” below for a sample.

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