Review: The Needies

The Needies
“Screaming and Violence”
(Slow Gun Records)

I had this friend in college name Keith Killoren.  He was an infinitely talented character.  The kind of personality you just never forget.  He was in a cool indie-rock band, but his love of his acoustic and prolific writing style prompted him to continuously be putting out these self-released tapes of his acoustic songs.  Not much production value needed, as it was basically Keith and his guitar.  But his humor and wit were so enrapturing, the numbers were nowhere near as dry as the typical ‘guy and his accoustic’.  I haven’t seen Keith for years.  I miss him.

The Needies sound like Keith.  Since you most likely have no idea who Keith Killoren is, you will have to take my word for it and go listen to The Needies if you want to know what I’m blathering about.  Travis Nichols IS The Needies (see how clever he is to name his solo endeavor with a plural title?).  Commanding guitars and vocals (the bulk of the material) and spicing it up with keyboards, vibraphone, shaker, etc., he delivers smarmy acoustic rock, energetic and popping with a speedy tempo.  That’s what makes this so listenable.  Never does Nichols get all watered down and try to coax some sappy ass acoustic drivel about some past love.

What he DOES write about:  A botched attempt at a threesome that basically pissed everyone off and did not climax expectedly – “two mouths, four boobs, two girls, all up on me / not arousing at all” comes off a lot funnier in the song than it does taken out of context.  And when he calls out their breast sizes, “34b, 34b, 36b, 36b” I was fully convinced of Nichols poetic brilliance.   “How many times can you do that Jesus pose / and still be taken seriously” asks Nichols of Scott Stapp.  (I never knew Creed was taken seriously to begin with).

It goes on an on.  He’s just a funny guy that knows how to keep the song moving so it maintains interest level.  This is indie rock smarmy to the hilt.  Let’s make fun of some shit.  Not all is shallow, as some numbers take a more dramatic approach, but all have an impressive command over the lyrics.  In their delivery, content and cadence.  You will get the joke or you won’t.  And to leave you with some wise words (actually these are ALL the words) from “You’re Not Him” – ‘don’t let jesus hold you back from fun / he’s probably not half as hard-assed as you think / try to swear at least ten times a day / and don’t be afraid to masturbate and drink.