Imagine my surprise when I got the new Nick Douglas album Regenerations in my mailbox recently. I didn’t even know the man was working on one. As a fixture on bass in DORO, THE METAL QUEEN’S band for nearly 30 years, and someone who also lends his considerable chops to a whole host of other projects I am shocked he even had time to put this together. Releasing on March 10 via Metalville Records, the album was recorded and produced mostly at Douglas’ own studio with him performing nearly all instrumentation himself. Again, I had no idea this was coming, but I’m glad it did because over the course of eleven tracks he takes us on quite a ride that is equal parts catchy and deeply introspective.
Opening track “Come Alive” starts with Douglas singing over piano and the guitars and drums gradually easing in, creating a moody, mid-tempo rocker. “All On Me” is next and is without a doubt an album favorite. From the melody on the verses to the summery vibe on the hook this has surefire hit written all over it. Things get very dark for “Before You Break” featuring guest vocals from Sharlotte Gibson on some haunting harmonies. “I Need Real” has a healthy dose of alternative-sounding riff-rock while acoustic ballad “Didn’t We Try” showcases Douglas’ silky smooth vocal delivery and is a perfect vehicle to show a different side of him.
Another winning cut comes in the form of “My Lucky Day.” You think it’s going one way then the pendulum takes a YUUUUGE swing on the chorus, hitting the ball up into the cheap seats, I love it! “Uncomfortable” has an arrangement that melds the 60’s pop sensibilities of THE BEATLES with artists like Michael Penn, who I happen to be a big fan of. “The Soul You Keep” has that “Whoa-oh-oh” on the hook that sticks with you long after the song is done. You just can’t go wrong with those when they’re done right, which they certainly are here. A piano-driven musical interlude takes place with “Blackwood”, which then guides us into “You Break”, another one that is dark and moody with Douglas’ vocals soaring on the refrain.
And speaking of terrific vocalists, Rebecca Gowarty comes in and takes the lead for record closer “Blue.” Now THIS is one that I simply could not and cannot get enough of. A simple, sparse composition featuring atmospheric keys and Gowarty’s longing and wistful, yet powerful delivery, this song made the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand at full attention while simultaneously giving me chills. The fact I didn’t break my REPEAT button is a minor miracle. She absolutely delivers the goods on a number that is just on another level.
All told Nick Douglas has unleashed what is already one of my favorite albums of 2017 and this is only March. There’s no way in Hell this is coming out of my phone, and no way in Hell it won’t get spun at least twice a week for the remainder of the year and probably beyond. Regenerations hit me in so many different ways, and each time I fire it up I find something else to love about it. Whatever you have to do to get this one in your collection, I suggest you do it. You will truly get to see and hear the many sides of the one, the only, Nick Douglas.
STANDOUT TRACKS: ALL OF THEM