You can hear, in the songs of No Regular Play, hints at the sounds that inspired the duo to make music in the first place, and sonic whispers of the vast musical lexicon they share. Friends since the age of eight, Greg Paulus and Nick DeBruyn grew up listening to Native Tongues and underground hip-hop and jazz. That love of music never waned: the two traveled to Cuba together to study Afro-Cuban music and Paulus formally studied classical and jazz and toured with the band Beirut. That explains, then, why their output since they began releasing music in 2008 – mostly as part of the Wolf+Lamb collective – has so effectively married diverse sonic influences with smooth house. Nothing Less, their debut release on the HAKT label, very nearly glides through its four songs, bringing along elements and instruments give this release depth, richness and texture.
On “Nothing Less,” the opener, Paulus plays trumpet against a backbeat that’s suddenly surrounded by cosmic synths and his own Prince-reminiscent vocals. Track two, “Night Ranger,” feels like an ‘80s summer night, with keys forming elegant patterns beneath Paulus’s vocals and sparse, mournful horns. “Ice Cold Bottle” toys with synthy funk, and fills out with murky keys, thumping beats and lyrics that are smirkily, playfully sleazy (And includes maybe the best lyric of late: “Don't bother with the bathing suit/’Cause that suit will drop.”) And “Indigo,” which starts off with stacks of handclaps and big bottomed bass, unexpectedly weaves in swooning cello and string swells that feel hopelessly romantic.
Greg Paulus has played with Matthew Dear and released solo music on Wolf+Lamb and Double Standard Records. NRP has also released music on Supplement Facts and Cut Mistake Music. Their debut full length, Endangered Species, was released in 2012.
Published: 31st July 2013