Nigel Thomas of occasional Blue Nile fame in 2002 wrote, played most of and produced this very fine slice of pop/soul that any number of Blue Nile fans would swoon over. Wittily dropping hot funk instrumentals in between some very heavy balladry ("Good Night, my Baby," "Never Leave Me," "Stones of Time," "Ocean Deep"), Thomas exhibits sincere George Michael-esque vocal chops without any tendency to use volume instead of emotion; even more wisely he tosses vocal duties to the Nile's frontman Paul Buchanan, who in "Due North" and "Things We Should Say" simply can't be improved upon. Where the Steely Dan comparison arises is, Quiet City plies similar sonic and stylistic soul/jazz/pop depths and heights, but the Dan's cynicism and very exercised sense of irony tends to obscure their compositional genius. Nigel Thomas prefers to make the music as important as the words, the 'feel' as center-stage as the message (note how the string section takes up as much lead space in these arrangements as the fine vocals do). And although the 2-minute funkfests ("Pocket Juice," "Rude Dude," "Knee-Jerk Raction," The Dirty Dozen") are all instrumental, the crisp writing and the hot horn charts will make you wish they were longer. Cutting the seesaw short, Thomas closes out herewith the medium-temperature "Easier to Stay" and a swinging slow instrumental ("7 Miles High")m, the melody of which owes something to Frank Zappa's 'Black Napkins.' Almost as if he were born in Philadelphia! This CD never got the attention it should have. Pick it up if Hall & Oates never quite 'did it' for you. This will.