Brooklyn-based instrumentalist Nick Rousseau is no stranger to producing music. His newest release, “Rest/Unrest” however, is the first time he has taken a leading role without label support. Composed of songs written recently, as well as older tunes seeing the light of day for the first time. Beautiful melodies are paired with thick harmonies on this 8 track album, resulting in nearly 40 awesome minutes of music.
Right off the bat, the namesake song, “Rest/Unrest” sets the tone of the album. Easily digested melodies dance through colorful harmonies, sometimes finding comfort, while at others dissonance. The delicate piano lines move almost conversationally with the solo trumpet. The rhythm section creates an almost soundscape behind them. From the busy drums that are reminiscent of rain to explorative guitar lines, the texture was attentive, yet oddly dissociative to what was going on around them. Supporting, yet deepening the texture.
Further into the album, “Let Their Voices Sing” takes completely different energy from the preceding songs. The light vibes the song kicks off with quickly devolve into seemingly chaotic percussion riffs and easy-going, approachable melodies over top. The intensity of the rhythm section contrasts the relaxation of the lead voices phenomenally. Cool riffs are passed around the band, giving every different voice a moment to shine. The combination of these elements was fantastic, making this song one of my favorites of the album.
The band captured upbeat excitement as easily as they did the lower energy parts of beauty. In stark contrast to the loud busyness, sometimes they’d find comfort in relaxation. Harmonies would ring out, as the drifting instrumentals would sway along taking their time. This full spectrum of styles kept each song interesting and unique.
The second half of the album kicks off with “Soul Harvest”, a song as eerie and mysterious as its name implies. Repetitive, almost canon-like guitar lines seem to do their own thing while the piano creates chaotic, yet intriguing melodies. Steering away from the bluesier sound the band demonstrated on prior tracks like “Let Their Voices Sing” or “Rest/Unrest”, the uneasy texture showed off Nick Rousseau and the whole band’s versatility.
As a first release, “Rest/Unrest” is as interesting as it is entertaining. The quartet featured throughout the album, Nick Rousseau, Carlin Lee, Sean Hannon, and Anton Kot move as a singular unit. The group’s chemistry was evident on every song. The way fills would compliment whatever was happening around them and how easily harmonies and melodies alike were passed around was impressive and fun to listen to. I simply adored how easily approachable melodies would morph and twist into completely different vibes. An incredibly well-rounded album, and a great album in general.
“Rest/Unrest” by Nick Rousseau can be found on any major streaming service.
Written by Tyler Roberts