At a time of great uncertainty, it helps to surround yourself with those things you trust, and so marks the timely return of the reliably brilliant Nick Mulvey. His standout debut album, First Mind, in 2015 was the introduction of an artist who shirked the conventional and side-stepped the expected. It was a record of opposing shades, all leftfield rhythms, and harnessing an exquisitely natural guitarist doing extraordinary things, painting unique colors across a very moreish collection of songs. It was quite peerless, and translated to the stage alongside a fine collection of talented players that formed his band.
Nick's return with the first fruits of his new album sessions has brought with it his own outlook on a world that can't decide which direction it's going, or quite what to do with itself. We're all hastily trying to find our spot within these times, and Nick is no exception, but if clarity is part-resolved by a call to arms, perhaps it's time to make that call. Wake Up Now is an album rooted in the conscience and all that it stands for. It's also a record that harbors great community, welcoming a host of new and multi-talented musicians with a flourishing skillset. That sense of community was drilled home by Brian Eno in a few pre-recording meet-ups between the two, who implored Nick to open himself up more and consider sharing the weight-load.
The idea of opening himself up more has filtered into Nick's lyrics too, once swathed in metaphor upon metaphor, they're now at the heart of this record's identity. Clarity. Humanity. It's a much more relaxed Nick Mulvey that delivers Wake Up Now. Comfortable within his own skin, for want of a less traveled term. The community he's built around himself all sit on the same page together, letting the music and conversation at the heart of this record flow naturally and at ease with the world around them. It's the work of a special British talent ready for the next phase, whatever that phase will be.