This is a review of "Take It & Go / She Asks Me" recorded by Nikoli. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2004.
This two-song single confirms two things. Firstly, there is now no shortage of high-quality song-writing, musically-rich bands in the marketplace. Secondly, Nikoli have confirmed their claim, set out on the "Resigned" EP, that they are in the front rank nationally. Franz Ferdinand, Dogs Die in Hot Cars, Kaiser Chiefs, British Sea Power ... a diverse set of acts, but united in their commitment to what you can hear rather than what you can buy in the clothes 'n' lifestyle shop. Hurrah for quality.
Originally a Tim Hann project, Nikoli have James Brunger, Spencer Bayles and Chris Maunder getting in on a real band affair that does sound like a fully qualified set of people paying attention to each other's music and making a pretty fine fist of it.
"Take it & Go" surges in with a tide of irresistible bass and a ghostly six note piano tune that defines the whole song. The main tune is mournful and breathy. Maybe it could have raised its a head more than it does - but I get a strong message that Nikoli are in charge. It's their song, and they really mean it this way. Just take it and ... er ... go. Exactly. That piano line is a stroke of genius.
"She Asks Me" is a darker and heavier mix. The bass is as big and urgent as before, but guitars and keyboards dominate big sections. It sweeps along in super-dramatic fashion, doomier and gloomier for sure. An acoustic guitar and a distant second voice keep it ethereal. Delicate scrapes of guitar and some well-placed drum sounds keep it tense and exciting right tot he end. It really is rather good.