BY MICHAEL TOLAND
He may not be a household name, but singer/songwriter Nicholas Tremulis has a career stretching back to the ‘80s, encompassing major label deals, DIY action and the usual would-be rock star indulgences. For the Baby Doll looks back on an eventful life, taking stock of crippling addictions, struggling romance, opportunities lost and found and, at the center of it all, a NYC topless joint called the Baby Doll. Like contemporaries Chris Harford, Willie Nile and his pal Alejandro Escovedo, the Chicago-based Tremulis boasts an essentially genre-less rock & roll sound, informed by punk, pop and R&B but really just about playing sharp songs with panache and conviction.
“You’re Too Much (But Never Enough)” and “You’re Gonna Lose (Everything You Got)” rock righteously like Chuck Berry fronting the New York Dolls. “Everybody Here” and “Without You With Me” truck in the kind of R&B-fueled roots rock mastered by the late Willy DeVille. “Super Human Love” deftly mixes T. Rex-style glam, psychedelic pop and blue-eyed soul for a distinctive treat. The anthemic “Lost Without You” and “Walk in the Sun Again” put a post-modern spin on Phil Spector grandeur. With Tremulis’ burnished, soulful singing as the connective tissue, the songs flow like honey from a bottle, gliding through stylistic shifts with the grace of a dancer. Wrapped in a book-like package that features both an autobiographical essay and a cover shot of a naked Simone De Beauvoir, For the Baby Doll is a definitive statement from an artist working the shadows for far too long.
DOWNLOAD: “Super Human Love,” “You’re Gonna Lose (Everything You Got),” “Lost Without You”