It isn’t easy to stay relevant in today’s competitive singer/songwriter underground, and for underground players, this statement is all the more accurate. The current indie scene has been giving up some serious hit makers in the last few years, but for my money, there aren’t many pillars in the circuit featuring the kind of skill that Paul Nourigat has. In Nourigat’s new demos, titled “Natural Stupidity,” “Bad Cannot Be Good,” and “These Old People,” the bluesy singer/songwriter highlights some of the reasons why his scene has become one of the more widely discussed in America lately, while boldly introducing new elements to an already captivating sound.
A song like “Bad Cannot Be Good” is all about big, bouncy beats and a harmony that is perhaps the most flexible this artist has ever stuck in a demo (or a music video, for that matter), together framed by a lyrical wit I’ve come to love about the other two songs it’s been released beside. There are plenty of musicians that you should be keeping a close eye on heading into the summer of 2022, but if it’s easy grooves and soft melodic magic that get your engine started more than anything else, this is a set of tracks you must acquire.
The guitar element in all three songs isn’t as prominent in the mix as I anticipated it would be – based on what some of the competition has had to offer – but its subtle presence makes the vocal the most surreal feature in both “These Old People” and “Natural Stupidity.” The dueling between the bassline and the percussion adds a lot of adrenaline to a rhythm that could have been sluggish if manipulated by a different set of musicians, and even though it’s a little indulgent, I think it’s quintessential to making the chorus as sexy as it is. I didn’t expect just how smooth a vocal Paul Nourigat would be able to emit when he’s firing on all cylinders, but in “Bad Cannot Be Good” specifically, I’ve got no choice but to embrace its tuneful melody with open arms (and for everything it’s worth). This is our first look at his new album Complex Truths, and with any luck, but a mere taste of the crooning prowess he’s going to include in its tracklist.
There’s nothing about any of this material that would suggest it is the highest creative peak this artist will reach in his lifetime, but I would be lying if I said these songs didn’t sound like the first step towards an evolved style of play for Nourigat. I want to hear him play with exotic elements like those found here in future material, but no matter what he does next, I plan on staying tuned to his camp’s output regardless. Paul Nourigat has come a long way in the studio, that much is clear here, and with a little more attention from American audiences, I think he’s got the potential to break through on a new level with any of these songs as well as the upcoming Complex Truths. The full-length album is expected to reach the public this November 1st, and I can’t wait to review its complete contents when it does.