Vancouver-born singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Nicholas Krgovich, is a master of creating memorable songs. On Krgovich’s new album, The Hills, he delves into the orchestral pop of the 60s and 80s, maintaining a balance of mellow, haunting, and upbeat . Not only a great songwriter, Krgvoich is also a great singer. His voice is warm and unique, lending each song its own character. As such The Hills is an album that is easy to get lost in: a nostalgic world.
“The Hills I” is an opening track that sets the mood perfectly. It captures all of Krgovich’s key elements, particularly the serene atmospheres created through strings and backing vocals. The R&B-influenced “Sunset Tower,” an early standout of the album, starts with strings, and seamlessly transitions to Krgovich’s layered vocals, accompanying fingersnaps, piano chords and a jazzy bassline. These elements lead to an intense outro that makes for a memorable song. All the instrumental elements are combined with Krgovich’s powerful vocals to conclude the song in a way that is both quiet and explosive at the same time.
The haunting “Written in the Wind” is the record’s most minimal song. It features sombre guitar chords accompanied with gentle background vocals, joining Krgovich’s equally plaintive vocals. “You came to me like a dream” he says to his past lover. The song as a whole is reminiscent of Chet Baker’s “My Funny Valentine” and highlights the moodier side of the album.
Other high points include “Mountain of Song” and “Out of Work Jazz Singer,” both influenced by ‘80s pop. The keyboard motif in “Mountain of Song” is distinct, and the mix of horns with Krgovich’s vocals compliment well. The combination sounds like a duet, rather than a formulaic mix of vocals and instrumentals . The weaker spots on the album are the orchestral interludes, such as “Backlot Detail” and “PCH Detail.” They’re beautiful, but underdeveloped. They stand on their own, detracting from the album’s cohesion.
But overall, The Hills is a textured album that demonstrates Krgovich’s artistry and attention to detail. The melodies, memorable instrumentation and mixing, along with Krgovich’s honest and relatable lyrics create something beautiful that has a lasting effect on the listener long after it is finished.