New single from Nicolle & The Joonoos is an example of a hot trend done badly.
Folk-rock’s resurgence in the last few years has produced a generation of emerging artists with radio-pleasing sounds but no really identity or purpose, in the frankest sense. While the genre might be on the mainstream decline once more, the bad taste still clings to the mouth. The problem is that the sudden saturation of the genre led to a lot of artists – genuine folk afficionados or not – flailing somewhat in an attempt to distinguish themselves. And that is how we get releases such as Nicolle & The Joomoos‘ latest, Sideline.
To her merit, it would appear that Nicolle at least has the self-awareness and intuition to understand that she needs to progress the genre’s stagnant sound if she is to garner a worthwhile reputation. Unfortunately, her approach has fallen short with the new single. The stripped-back opening guitar melody — which, while it does outline the bass melody throughout the verses, does not sit right with the track — immediately strikes as a folk-tinged lift from Nirvana’s Polly. As it is a match both rhythmically and melodically, it is highly unlikely that this is anything other than an instance of copying that might even verge on plagiarism.
That reason alone isn’t what makes this song fall short. That award goes to the erratic and ill-fitting transition between every section of the song. The aim, one can assume, was to be interesting by shifting the song musically and making it unique. If that was the aim, it was another instance of this track not hitting the mark. It comes across as an ill-formed patchwork of a song, and this is only exacerbated by some relatively poor instrument mixing during the chorus.
It is admirable for the band to attempt to carve out their own name in the husk of the folk-rock genre, but this is not the way to do it.