Everyone knows that especially sunless feeling that sometimes hits when you’re lying in bed, a little heavy with boredom, despair or the thick march of winter. Your ribcage feels like it’s poking your heart and your blanket feels a little too wooly to be comfortable. It’s an unpleasant, but recognizable thing. I think Chris Masullo, the brain behind Brooklyn’s Nicholas Nicholas, knows this too. And Wrong is a kind of immersion therapy into that.
It’s significant that the final track on the band’s sophomore album is called I Wore A Mask. It’s a summation of all the songs preceding it; an admission that, with Wrong, Masullo is finally cracking open his own vulnerability. The track itself stretches and sighs, Masullo’s blue croon is looped and his vocals evaporate almost as they come out of his mouth. There’s something church-like about it, as if Masullo is standing alone in a cathedral with all the empty space between him and the walls flooded with jockeying sounds. Early on, however, Masullo appears far less isolated. Meet Me In The Park is almost bright, with hollow, woody percussion and gently soporific guitars slowly fissuring a wall of lo-fi fog, like light trying to get through a dirt-crusted window. The span between those tracks illuminates a progression towards vulnerability, and with it, a slight sadness.
Keychain II is heavily instrumental, with Masullo’s baritone vocals moving through the track like a barely noticeable breeze, punctuated by a threatening heart monitor beep. When The Rates Came Back has Masullo almost secretively testing his vocal range, and it honestly reminds me of a less oddball Klaus Nomi. On Place opens with a distant thundering, until the percussion breaks down and clatters against ghostly harmonies.
Album single Cave encompasses the band’s sound: woozy, shy vocals, nostalgic, sleepy drumming, fractured guitars and the memorable, heavy-hearted lyric, “The truth hurts when it’s true enough.”