Until recently, Nicholas Krgovich had scarcely played guitar in eight years. The local popsmith, who has been a member of No Kids, P:ano, and Gigi, among other groups, was primarily a keyboardist, creating electronic R&B arrangements centred around keyboards and synthesized grooves. But while house-sitting for his aunt on the North Shore during the rainy winter, he decided to pick up an acoustic guitar. Who Cares? is the result.
“I was just hanging out in the house all the time. The weather was consistently miserable so there was no real reason to go out,” Krgovich remembers of his house-sitting experience. “I just got really into writing these two-and-a-half minute songs. I’d sit in the front room on the couch, and on a good day write two or three of them, and as I finished each one I’d run into the next room and quickly record it before I forgot how it went. Then start on another.”
He later re-recorded the songs in a proper studio but, rather than fleshing out the arrangements, he left them as sparse acoustic tracks with minimal layering: a soft keyboard here, a vocal harmony there. The singer explains that, in his imagination, the songs have far more ornate arrangements.
“I was writing as if this Nelson Riddle-style orchestra was forever swirling under the songs,” he remembers. “Like Frank Sinatra’s album Only the Lonely. But I intentionally left the finished arrangements quite empty so all of that could just be implied by the performance and the song itself. That’s an idea I’m really into these days: the invisible arrangement.”
It’s easy to hear what he’s talking about; the quiet orchestrations that bubble up during “The Golden Nugget” could have been turned into a massive string section, while the quiet harmonies of “Simple Signs” would be ideally suited to a troupe of backup singers. That being said, the tunes sound perfect as is, and the album’s emotional impact is greater due to the simplicity.
Fans in search of more grandiose songs will soon get their wish, since Krgovich has another album called On Sunset on the backburner. He began it in 2008, and it will finally be released within the next few months. “There’s a lot to say about it,” he reflects, “but for now I’m just excited that it’s finally coming out and that I can share it with people. It’s been weird having it collect dust on my hard drive for so long.”
Who Cares? is available now from Jaz Records.
By Fentle Ølmhuimst