Nick Andre – “L.A.’s On Fire” & “Guns”
The singles “L.A.’s On Fire” and “Guns” from producer and songwriter Nick Andre represent the next leap forward in a career with many irons in the fire. Andre has contributed to movie soundtracks, opened and operated his own label in a bid for increased artistic control, and has the necessary cachet to work with some of the most talented figures emerging from the indie hip hop and music scene. The San Francisco based artist’s new singles are shining examples of what talented composers and performers can still accomplish in a style that’s often accused of not progressing enough; Andre deserves ranked among the forefront of a generation clearly committed to bringing something of themselves to their work and stretching its imaginative boundaries further than before. Its focus on social issues like gun violence and racism is handled well and honestly rather than falling prey to the same practices and phenomena it depicts. These are important new songs, regardless of their genre.
“L.A.’s On Fire”, in particular, is a sonic whirlwind through a city hellscape where anger and bias abound. Andre makes liberal use of special effects to heighten the threatening mood and a battery of synthesizer lines and flourishes to further deepen the atmosphere. There’s no doubt that this isn’t inspiring fare giving musical expression to the better angels of our nature, but Andre has created a gripping theatrical experience in musical form to show us this glimpse of how the world often works for some today. It’s a short tune and doesn’t waste a second of the listener’s time, but there’s never any sense of the track being rushed along and even the vocal delivery, despite the effects often used to enhance its mood, is clear and takes obvious pains to get its message across to listeners.
“Guns’ is pared down, a clenched fist of music and vocals, marked by idiosyncratic flashes of creativity, particularly around the chorus. It’s a dynamically constructed number as well and you can hear it in the lockstep manner the song transitions from its verses into the chorus. The production values, once again, frame this song in the best possible way and the lyrical material, while definitely challenging for the performer, is pointed and readily comprehensible. These are songs that address complex social issues with intelligence and fearlessness. Like “L.A.’s On Fire”, “Guns” doesn’t run over three minutes in length and doesn’t ever sound like it’s in a hurry.
Nick Andre’s new singles are must hear and strong additions to his growing catalog. His multi-faceted talents find ideal expression in these performances and his work with collaborators like Hanni El Khatib and Rob Sonic are indications he wants to create the best music he can and doesn’t to need to burnish his ego. This sort of artistic selflessness makes for the sort of music capable of standing the test of time and, despite their social relevance, “L.A.’s On Fire” and “Guns” won’t soon be disposable.