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Album of the Year: Nick Mulvey - First Mind | reviews, news & interviews

Album of the Year: Nick Mulvey - First Mind

Album of the Year: Nick Mulvey - First Mind

Amongst a plethora of whip-smart releases Nick Mulvey's debut wins out

The blurry but brilliant Nick Mulvey

2014 has been a juicy year for albums which places Nick Mulvey’s solo debut on an especially high pedestal. A straightforward review can be found elsewhere on theartsdesk, when I first thrilled to his music earlier in the year. In the meantime, those other contenders deserve a mention, the ones that came closest to unseating Mulvey during prolonged listening sessions here at Gomez Mansions.

The new one from Canadian DJ-producer Richie Hawtin’s lysergic techno persona Plastikman has done serious time on the late night system. Composed for and recorded live at an event in New York’s Guggenheim Museum, EX took his earliest sound, from classic Nineties albums such as Sheet One and Muzik, and amped it gloriously to stadium size. Also from the dance music universe, Röyksopp took a very different route on The Inevitable End. Rather than club-friendly sounds, the Norwegian duo, on what they claim will be their final album, created a melancholic electro-pop masterpiece in the vein of the Pet Shop Boys, based around lost love and collapsed relationships.

Other albums that rose above the mass and yelled “QUALITY!” include Brazilian singer-songwriter and studio wizard Rodrigo Amarante’s electro-tweaked Hispanic folk on Cavalo, The Bug’s continuing bassbin-shattering exploits on Angels & Devils, Simian Mobile Disco’s slow-burning exploration of analogue kit on Whorl (which, I confess, I didn't fully appreciate until a good few listens), while the hipster-bait of FKA Twigs' Lp1 and Dean Blunt’s Black Metal both offered intriguing sci-fi sonics alongside tight-crafted songwriting. Despite my own resistance (and the deadest performance presence of the year), Lana del Rey’s second album Ultraviolence also continues to grow on me.

Which just leaves a sentence to remind that zooming higher than all the above with gentle, classy ease is First Mind, ex-Portico Quartet member Nick Mulvey’s extraordinary foray into beautiful songwriting and jazz-tinged modernism. It not only avoids pretension and solipsism, but also weaves real warmth and magic. It's a piece of music that grows more loveable on each new listen.

Overleaf: Watch the video for Nick Mulvey's "I Don't Want to go Home"

A foray into beautiful songwriting and jazz-tinged modernism that not only avoids pretension and solipsism, but also weaves real warmth and magic

rating

Editor Rating: 
5
Average: 5 (1 vote)

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