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NYCO – Two

Self-released, 2005

The picture on the cover of this record is the mental image I construct about an hour or so before I leave work everyday.  Oh man, if I could juuuust leap into bed like this guy … looks divine.  Turning the album over, I noticed they were unsigned.  Not to typecast self-supporting bands, but since no label is attached to the group then one can’t easily pinpoint what they’re going to sound like based on a label’s genre track record.  Most labels do diversify their talent these days, but one can usually guess seven times out of ten why a band got signed to the label given their sound. Without that, one can feebly make a guess that NYCO makes floaty music … whatever that means.  It was worth a pick up just to find out what they were about.

Clashing symbols and stretched out guitar notes, coupled with Ted Atkatz’s nasally, emotionally-tinged vocals, make NYCO a particularly difficult listen.  Despite the pop affectations and light tone, everything sounds extremely plain.  Nothing is catchy, nothing latches on as a repeat spin.  You may be thinking, woah, HEY, aren’t you being a little harsh?  Perhaps, but that’s only because I generally find something likable in most records.  This one has minimal redeeming value, especially since it’s a pacified version of much of what has come before.  The truth is that NYCO is an even more watered down version of John Mayer.

I do not wish to pick apart every song on this album, for if I have to dig deeper into these tunes I am going to lose it from an excessive gag reflex.  “Cash For Time” probably typifies most tracks on this boatload of foulness.  Despite the hint of bass funkiness it still provides zero edge, and Atkatz’s breathy vocals just bring one down since there is no force behind them.  With a dull chorus and even duller verse, “Cash For Time” feels like a much longer song than its nearly three-and-a-half minute official length.  If you even get to this song after the travesty of the first four on the album, you will still not be impressed.

The only song that remotely caught my attention was “Soda Can”, and that was because Atkatz opted to go playfully falsetto during most of the song.  He actually sounds listenable here!  If Atkatz learned anything from this record it is that he should have outright given up on the sensitive singing bit and just stuck with light-hearted amusement.  NYCO has put out other records, but I just can’t be bothered to hear if Atkatz figured that out himself.  I bet they’re still a watered down version of John Mayer.

I am telling you that this is incredibly unimpressive, but if you don’t trust my aluminum-plated words then head on over to the NYCO website or MySpace and hear for yourself.

I’ve said all I’ve really needed to say, but in case it didn’t click yet I was not a big fan of this album.  I was more of a fan of the album cover, which as I’ve spoken of in the past is usually a poor indicator of album excellence.  This record definitely should’ve levitated out my window, but if it did then I wouldn’t have been able to warn you away from it.  Therefore, in the line of music reviewin’ duty, I took this on the chin for you guys.  NYCO is still making some rounds and will actually play at the South By Southwest Music Festival in March 2011, so it’s impressive that they’re getting some exposure five years after this record.  I’m not sure if they would be given much of a chance by the SXSW committee in 2005, though.  Into the Can you go, NYCO.

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