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Shannon Livewell

Nick Africano’s If Timing Were of Different Course and Fire

Nick Africano (AP photo)
Nick Africano (AP photo)

Bridging the waters between Tom Waits and Damien Rice, Nick Africano is a breath of fresh air. With an irony in his words, and a distinct emotion in each melody, his latest album, If Timing Were Of Different Course And Fire, was released for the world to enjoy last month.

While Africano is undeniably an artist, his poetic abilities merge with his production skills to create an evolving concept album that is sure to take any listener on an emotional journey.

The first track on the album, “Capture,” is a wonderful parfait of musical layers. The harmonies on this song highlight the chorus beautifully, and the echoing electric guitar adds a grunge factor that makes you want to blast the song through your speakers while you’re driving along a coast somewhere. It all comes to a close with Africano singing the hook a capella as the music slowly drops out.

Not only can you find your own symbolism in the strategy behind the production, which I’ll leave to your own interpretation, but you can feel the emotion in every line until you are left with nothing but track two (or the repeat button).

It is clear that Africano has felt pain, and not only has he dealt with it, but he has articulated his experiences for his audience to grow from. When you are feeling pain or sadness, it always helps to know someone else has been in your shoes before, and Africano’s entire album feels as if he is that comforting friend that is lifting you up and recognizing the bad, but helping you look towards the good.

“Cap and Bells” is my favorite song off of Africano’s latest masterpiece. He enters the melody with the first verse like Johnny Cash walking into a bar with his usual gait (and I promise that’s not a set up for a bad joke). Like any good song should, this track builds to a sentimental climax and falls to the same place it started by the end. The listener is taken on a journey, being forced to feel emotions most strive to hide in their daily life, so be sure to listen to the album on your car ride home from work and avoid teary-eye contact with strangers at red lights.

“Open You Heart” is a track that really surprised me off of this collection of work. The instrumental is an unexpected cross between blues and country, and Africano’s voice shines through in a clear and distinct tone, opposite to his tellingly breathless presentation in previous tracks. Once again, the harmonies on the chorus add another layer, and I think they really enhance the storyline.
“You can’t be so afraid to fail that you will leave yourself instead,” he sings in “Open Your Heart.”

Nick Africano is a musical breath of fresh air. His music is powerful, and telling. His stories make you feel as if you’ve known him forever after the first listen of his album, and his emotion when delivering the songs will (at moments) leave you speechless.