By Zane Fletcher, Culture Editor
From the first bars of their self-titled album, it is apparent that The Afro Nick has a sound that strikes a curious dichotomy between familiarity and complete uniqueness.
Whereas the band’s roots show through – notably the guitar-centric rock of greats like Santana and Hendrix – “The Afro Nick” manages to mix their constituent parts into something much more interesting.
Frontman Nick Anastasakis, born on the Mediterranean island of Crete, possesses a voice that instantly comforts the listener and fills them with an energy inherent to his songs. Anastasakis, despite receiving a music scholarship in Boston, moved to Brooklyn (from where he is now based), purchased a 65′ Gibson guitar and began making his own music.
Anastasakis’s self-made spirit lives on through his music. Rathert han sign to a label, Anastasakis self-produced “The Afro Nick” in order to give himself more creative freedom. After numerous listenings, his creativity seems as boundless as his afro – a symbol, and subsequent namesake, of the band.
I will admit, before I placed the disc in my CD player, I was unsure what to expect. When the opening guitar riff of “Lazy Like Crazy,” played over my speakers, I had to check to make sure I hadn’t accidentally played The Black Keys.
The compilation of Anastasakis’s captivating voice, relatable lyrics and exceptional musical composing made it difficult to discern the genre – at once alternative, indie and classic rock, yet simultaneously none of the three.
Continuing through the album, The Afro Nick continued to explore different musical moods and styles.
“You + Me,” the third track, marks a significant departure from the up-beat “Lazy Like Crazy.” A much more contemplative track, it high-lights Astasakinas’s singing capabilities while the rest of band provides a sultry backdrop to his croons.
Perhaps the most recognizable song off the album is “Don’t Waste My Time,” which appeared in season ten of PBS’s “Roadtrip Nation” series. “Don’t Waste My Time” is also Anastasakis’s self-claimed life anthem.
“Intensity and strife are abundant,”said Astasakinas on his website,“but neither takes away from the carefree nature inherent in our lives.”
The Afro Nick will be one to look out for in the upcoming years.