Rooted in rhythm & blues with a damned Bobby Darin stance that says "I'm the Mayer Hawthorne-type singer that's perfect for adding sensual tension to any given David Lynch soundtrack," Nick Waterhouse is in fine form on his 2014 effort Holly; just don't take that Dan Fogelberg-ish album cover for music filled with '70s nostalgia. Go back a decade or two as the '50s and '60s are where this sometimes garage-rocking, sometimes Allah-Las member gets his kicks, something easily picked up on the album's title track, where a tight horn section, a standard beat combo, and plenty of wet reverb power the lusty tune. Indie Chris Isaak is the way that the cleverly titled third track "It #3" rocks over the detached lyrics, which are an almost haiku-like exploration of paranoia, with the short yet vivid words given more meaning by Waterhouse's increasingly itchy and anxious performance. Impressionist tactics are also applied to the story of the nightmare lady found in "Sleeping Pills," and while the organ and the shuffling beat of "Dead Room" suggest it could turn into the '60s hit "The In-Crowd" at any moment, lyrics come from the Joy Division or Radiohead schools of expressing angst. Hawthorne may have injected his throwback songs with exciting modern slang and swag, but Waterhouse's style is arguably more interesting, blurring the lines between contemporary and classic and offering a version of Roy Orbison's great Mystery Girl album for the post-everything set. Ten tight songs and out, and the album feels like a mystery itself, but artists who nail that stoic sense of wonder, like Isaak and Orbison, don't come around often. Waterhouse is certainly of their ilk, and since he adds his own abstract touches and modern emotions to the mix, he's arguably one of the best.