Accomplished and storied in the studio, when it comes to his own work, Nick Luca leaves a lot to be desired.
Nick Luca's obviously an accomplished musician and a talented studio engineer: he's responsible for some really notable work with Calexico, M. Ward, Giant Sand, Neko Case, and others, both performing live and as engineer in the studio. But -- and it pains me to have to say this -- perhaps he should stick to performing or working with others' music. Luca's CD, Sick of Love, will appeal to fans of adult contemporary/easy listening/Starbucks Hear Music fare. For those of us who seek some small thrill from our music, looking to Luca is looking the wrong way. Luca's voice is pleasant, with just enough edge to remind listeners that once, in a previous life, they liked Nirvana. At his more aggressive (if that's the right description), as on "Melody", he sounds like the mellower moments of pop-punk bands like Blink-182; when he's doing country, as on "Rosalie", he's more like an anemic O.A.R.. But throughout, he aims too high: "If Love" attempts a kind of Paul Simon-like maudlin quality, but Luca's voice grates, and he's only got sentimentality: "If love was a colour / Would it be deepest blue?" In general, his songwriting's über-conventional, so that by the end of each song you're well and truly sick of hearing the same musical idea repeated again and again. I will say, though, if he came on the radio you might not switch away, but you're infinitely better off with a Calexico or Neko Case record than this half-hearted affair.