Rhythm & Views

Nowhere Man

A funny thing happens when you have a recording studio in your house: You record a lot of music. Hence, the third full-length from Vikas Pawa's Nowhere Man is actually a 24-song double disc. While Love Asphyxia, the band's second album, was recorded with a full band, and seriously rocked out at moments, A Perfect Life--like his first album, Considered to Tears--again finds Pawa playing most of the instruments himself.

Nowhere Man's specialties are synthesizer-induced hooky pop songs and '70s-style rock, and there's plenty of both here: Disc one, the stronger of the two, seems to lean more toward the synth pop, while disc two is more guitar-heavy. By the end of the second disc, though, one is just plain tired. Two discs really is a tad much.

So let's start with disc one. The vocal harmonies, courtesy of Michelle Kushner, on "Healer-at-Large" turn the song toward Fleetwood Mac. The title track's chorus of "We're all the same, no one has a perfect life," combined with Kushner's ooh-oohs and the atmospheric sounds under the piano, is O.C.-worthy. Tiffany Johnson and Kushner's vocals combine in a deliciously creepy electronically enhanced chant on "The Personals," and "Next in Line," "Rocky Road" and "Roy G. Biv" come equipped with hard-to-escape hooks. The second disc starts off sweetly enough, with "A Dress a Day" and "In Real Time," but the rest of the disc just doesn't have the power-pop gusto of the first disc.

Though there are moments that showcase Pawa's songwriting mastery, it's really the first disc that sticks.

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