This second full-length album from power-pop maven Chris Korzen, under the moniker of Nezrok, is a welcomed treat. He writes great, instantly classic songs; the sound of his records are crisp and buoyant and he plays with some very, very fine musicians – and in my book, a couple of absolute giants (but more on that later). Nonetheless, the ten tracks that make up Nezrok are a must listen.
Is it biased for me to say the standout is his take on an unreleased track written by two of my favorite musicians (and people, more importantly) on the planet, Van Duren and Jody Stephens, “Andy, Please”? And that to sweeten the track, Mr. Duren sings backing vocals? And among the amazing performers on this track (and throughout the album) are The Smithereens’ Dennis Diken on drums and the equally-incredible Chris Bolger on guitars (his 2016 release, No Promises, was a favorite of mine)? Well, that’s the answer. But there’s more…
The opener, “Middle Ground” is a top-notch pop gem; great melody, harmonies and the perfect way to kick this album off; it has all the right elements for radio (yes, I know it doesn’t exist anymore) and shines – and yes, it does have a very Big Star (definitely Chris Bell) flavor about it. “Imagine That!” is another favorite – lush guitars and stunning vocal arrangements – and features the vocals of another artist I love, the magnificent Vicki Loveland, singing some of the leads, as well as (again) Mr. Duren’s vocal contributions and some gorgeously melodic slide guitar figures that add a wonderfully chilling effect to the track. “Birth Of A Smile” is a slower piece, with a ’70’s vibe; a melancholic piano frames the melody in tandem with Hammond organ and is something I can hear playing on the car radio – you know the mark of quality songs when you can visualize something aural!
This album is one of those moments when you have to stop and be thankful that there are still musicians; songwriters who still know their craft and have the skill to execute prime collections like this. And Chris Korzen is one of those – this latest Nezrok album is a flawless example.
Nezrok is currently available