Album Review: Nick Mulvey – First Mind

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5

Nick Mulvey’s debut solo album First Mind, is nothing short of exquisite. Individually, each track on the album is a force to be reckoned with; together, the twelve tracks bond together to create a sensuous and magnificent record. Previously a percussionist of Portico Quartet fame, Nick Mulvey has gone solo and created an intelligent, and musically inspiring, singer-songwriter-style album.

Though the tracks on First Mind vary considerably in terms of mood and tempo, there is a consistent sound that gleams and glimmers throughout the record. Since his Portico Quartet days, Mulvey has spent time travelling, harvesting unique musical sounds from around the world. He spent time in Cuba studying guitar and studied Ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. This keen interest in foreign and unusual musicology can be detected on the record; syncopated rhythms, notions of groove and repetitive, hypnotic riffs are rife throughout.

First Mind is a confident and strong album. The title track on the record sounds like Jose Gonzales in Junip; aloof, certain and impressive. The next track Fever To The Form feels more familiar, it is more approachable and conventional, the type of a song one might expect to appear on a bearded singer songwriter’s album in 2014 – that is not to say it is not good, of course. The third track on the album, April is beautiful and haunting. The acoustic guitar is intricate and delicate, Mulvey’s vocals linger, and there is resonance a plenty.

Mulvey’s current single Cucurucu is one of the strongest tracks on the album. A adaptation of D H Lawrence’s poem The Piano, the track is intriguing, Mulvey suits his role as raconteur on the record and his audience is eager to listen. The song is groovy and rhythmic, it’s the music that head bobbers and toe tappers dreams are made of.

Nitrous is another fantastic moment on the album.  A more poppy sounding song than some of the other tracks, Mulvey samples 90s anthem You’re Not Alone and sings “If you see old nitrous man, selling laughter from a can, you better tell him that the dream still fit’s the plan”. It’s fun and summery and all round good listening.

Without sounding like a Radio One advert, Nick Mulvey‘s First Mind could well be the album of 2014. The album is refreshing and innovative and deserves all of the praise it is sure to receive.

Jessica Newsome

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