JAM THE TRACKS WHILE YOU READ
"GREAT ADD YOU SAUCY MINX" - BEN
NICOLE BOGGS & THE REEL
DYSTOPIAN BOOK CLUB
October 15th, 2023
Nicole Boggs, with Alex Kramer and Sam Gyllenhaal (aka the Reel), without a doubt offered up the best title of any album in 2022. And while it would be a shame to lose the first person identity of Nicole, I would co-sign a band name change to: The Dystopian Book Club. Minor quibble. What’s important is for you to listen to this record.
Ok, but what am I signing on to? Gimme sound samples. Nicole and the guys meld all the good things: rock riffs with blue eyed soul. Their songwriting chops were formed from cutting teeth on the sounds of Motown and Fleetwood Mac, the Beatles and the Eagles and Sheryl Crow. They partake in three-part harmonies and parlay them into mature songwriting and smart lyrics. This album was composed in pandemic days so reflects a wealth of 21st Century anxieties. Life can be complex. Thus relationships will be complex. With mental health and materialism, with the internet and social media, with youth and maturity, with self-worth and self-esteem, with positivity and hope–or the lack thereof. Clearly there was some book reading going on here, Brave New World and 1984 and the likes.
“Existential Blues” kicks off the album in true kick-ass fashion. Isolation and imagination play havoc on the mind but holding on to that one real thing will get you through. It’s a matter of gripping it tightly and shunning the simulation. Nicole’s vocals are bluesy, robust, and powerful, and on “Queen of the Dive” she truly dives into her soul and pulls forth honesty and self-reflection. Alex Kramer’s simple falsetto backing vocal on “If You Can’t Be Cool”--the most fun song on the album–is a perfect whimsical addition to the track, so when he takes lead vocals on “Poor Little Rich Girl” you realize this is a band of equal abilities. Dystopian Book Club recently celebrated its first birthday. And more people should be wishing it a happy one. So I invite you to the party. No need to bring gifts. The gift was given to you in album form.
- TRENT RYAN SMITH