This is a review of "Resigned EP" recorded by Nikoli. The review was written by Sam Saunders in 2003.
This is fine stuff. Nikoli can stand up with today’s best and be counted, measured, weighed and purchased.
Title track "Resigned" has gloriously big guitar lines, a strong simple melody and a well nailed-down memorable chorus. There’s plenty of sonic decoration based on extensions of the guitar sound. Maybe it’s a bit light in the percussion section. But it has authority and an ambitious scale that makes a confident approach to anthemic status. It’s easy to see why it gets pole position and main EP title credit.
"The People" has a folksy start but it’s not as crisp as it needs to be to go the full cranberry. You could call it indie whimsy if you wanted to be unkind - with its lapses into verbal cliché ("Public execution, public retribution. / All part of the confu-oo-sion ..." all a bit descending minors) . But it’s a quiet moment in the set, and I think it’s OK.
"Sandstone" has another acoustic opener, in pre-OK Radiohead style. But it lightens up quickly and even gets a bit of a rollick going. There’s a good burbling bass and slapped drum sound and a sweet tune that works really well. It’s a bit of a stand out track, showing off a band doing just what it needs to carry the natural-sounding song. Pop radio beckons.
"Let Down" has even more acoustic guitars in the intro. There is a distinct Lloyd Cole ring to this one, with some effective harmony reinforcement on "I’ve been let dooooown" that does that clever thing of cheering up a miserable feeling to the point where you FEEL GOOD about the whole sorry business. I like that a lot. Nikoli advertise four vocalists, and I’d like to see them working on the potential shown here - vocal coaching, hours of practice, turning out for the local gospel choir for a few years and so on ... the premiership beckons.