Monday, February 25, 2013
Album review: Nicholas Altobelli’s new disc Without a Home finds Dallas digs
But some of the background work overshadows Altobelli's honest lyrics.
Though Nicholas Altobelli is very much a Dallas musician, his childhood in Southern California had quite an impact on his musical stylings. On his newest release, Without A Home, Altobelli pays homage to his place of birth with honest lyrics, light melodies, and uncomplicated chord progressions.
Like the albums before it, Without A Home will be released on Altobelli’s own record label, Dalton Records, but this time he acquired the assistance of homegrown songwriter/producer Salim Nourallah to fine-tune the 10-song record after Altobelli re-wrote it.
The effortless simplicity of Altobelli’s sound has become his signature, and at one point was an ardent reminder of how beautiful and refreshing homemade music from the heart could be. However, his simplistic direction could be his undoing if he continues to make music without underlying emotion. Altobelli’s lyrics reveal an artist who is in despair, and he admits that each track was written “in full fledged panic attacks and endless depths of depression,” yet his vocal approach sometimes lacks feeling.
Without A Home marks the first album in which Altobelli is backed by a full band, which includes local artists Paul Slavens, John Dufilho, and Becky Middleton. The band sometimes takes away from his lyrical content, overpowering his vocals and drowning out his poignant and unabashedly honest lyrics. However, their appearance shows Altobelli’s acceptance in the local scene.
Altobelli demonstrates on the track “This City” that he believes that he has never really belonged in Dallas. This album may open up doors in Dallas he's had a difficult time finding the keys to unlock. Maybe he has found his home after all.
Without A Home is definitely a departure from Altobelli’s past albums. Musically, it takes the listener on a journey to the west coast with its relaxed, laid-back feel. Each track demonstrates that taking a breather between his last record and this one was good for growth.
Altobelli celebrated the release of Without A Home Sunday, February 24 at Good Records with his backing band, The Gigawatts. He has gigs coming up at AllGood Café February 28; on Fox4 Good Day March 5; and at 35 Denton March 8.