2 The Nines - Oblivion
My wife loves the expression "dressed to the nines." She invariably knows it means a night out where she can glam it up, look her best, and if there's dancing involved, all the better! So if I were to make her aware about a relatively new band from LA going by the handle of 2 the Nines, she'd probably be like a lot of people in immediately assuming a grandiose, over the top, boy band leaning sound. The first few notes of "Hic Up" from their December 2012 release Oblivion would lend credence to this, as even I have to admit it's pretty attention-grabbing in terms of vocal harmonies. The R&B influences are easily apparent, from Michael Jackson to more contemporary artists like Bruno Mars to...well, you'll see later. The more you listen, however, the more it becomes obvious that there is something decidedly stripped-down going on here, almost contradictory to their band name. I wouldn't call it "minimalist," but when I learned 2 the Nines are a two-person project comprised of long-standing music friends TJ Runnells and Nick Midulla, the sweet simplicity coming through my headphones made a lot more sense.
I wouldn't be so quick to compare them to alliterate indie pop duos such as She & Him or Matt & Kim...maybe if they were playing one of those below street level lounge bars late one night. Preferably when raining, when you're more likely to "Catch a Cold" as Runnells raspily sings. The Latin flavored guitars that permeate the entire album just seem as if they'd be most at home in a hushed environment, broken up occasionally by snapping fingers. They are complemented by funky, experimentally hip-hop drumbeats by Midulla, although he knows not to overpower his partner's potent, butter-melting pipes. "Baby's Coming" may be the exception, and is that an ELECTRIC guitar I hear at one point? Apart from a somewhat dark aberration in "All These Drugs", the mood is mostly light, carefree, and at times reminiscent of Incubus and their acoustic-tinged alt radio hit "Drive". Oblivion ends with a gospel-ish bang thanks to an explosive cover of the revolutionary "A Change Is Gonna Come" which Mr. Sam Cooke, God rest his soul, would be proud of.
Like when I take my wife out on a date, 2 the Nines aren't about being showy or superficial - It's the destination that's what matters and makes it special.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.
on 2012-12-20 Michael_Morrison Said:
Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There's something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever "it" is - they all seem to have "it".
Today I listened to the debut CD from LA Based 2 piece band "2 The Nines" who just released their latest CD entitled: "Oblivion" in 2012. Venturing to their website I get the impression these 2 guys are extremely determined, dedicated and passionate about the songwriting craft. From start to finish this CD from 2 The Nines is a very entertaining musical experience all around. It has a very warm and inviting Pop-Rock quality to it. It also reminds me of Blue October, Lifehouse, Maroon 5 and Adam Levine. Any fans of any of these musical styles or bands will enjoy this latest release from 2 The Nines. It's clearly marketed for those who like a male vocal front with amazing musicianship in the background. I get the impression lead singer TJ Runnells (vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, ukulele, beatbox) and Nick Midulla (lead acoustic and electric guitars, bass guitar synths, organ, drum programming, percussion) have poured a lot of time into this 13 track CD. Favorite tracks for me include (Take Me Home), (Hic Up) and (Oblivion). The songwriting is very impressive and digs a bit deeper than the next independent artist. Within each one of these pieces Runnells and Midulla literally bare their souls and delivers what I would call pure musical mojo. It offers much in the way of a "grooveability" and the playing from both Runnels and Midulla are off the hook. All of the above come together and just makes the whole CD very enjoyable experience that cater to both Pop fans and Hip-Hop-Pop fans. The overall vibe of the production is very upbeat, passionate and full of mojo.
I see Two The Nines as a diamond in the rough, with an amazing amount of potential. As time goes by we will no doubt hear more from this amazing band down the road. Let me go on record and say 2 The Nines is a lucrative record deal waiting to happen. I also wouldn't be surprised to hear their music featured on Prime Time Radio, or even in featured in Feature Film or a TV Production someday.
In close most famous artists out there have "it" I'm not so sure what "it" is but 2 The Nines has whatever "it" is.
West Lothian, Scotland (UK)