He is back. The man from Portico Quartet. The guy who gave us ‘Fever to the Form’ and ‘Curcurucu’. It is the one and only Nick Mulvey. Three years it has been since his debut album, First Mind, was released, and since then not only did he tour for two years, but he had a child. They say with becoming a parent comes a new level of wisdom, and perhaps it could be argued that Wake Up Now speaks whole new levels of knowledge compared to his debut. Looking at themes such as inward reflection and outward realisation, this is an album that everyone needs to listen to. Even if it is just for the uplifting melodies.
The album opens with ‘Unconditional’, one of the four singles that precede the album, and if you haven’t heard it already then I ask you why? The song begins with a soft guitar, gently introucing the song’s themes of hopelessly falling in love and staying in love over time with one person. Maybe by choosing this song to begin with Nick wanted to highlight love being at the core of oneself? ‘Transform Your Game (We Remain)’ comes in next, culminating in a full six minutes of multiple layers, from interesting drum beats to lyrics about war and change.
Third on the album we have ‘Imogen’. Unbeknown to me, as I simply began to listen to the song, that it would make me cry. The song instantly contrasts the first two, with silkier tones, accompanying the personal lyrics beautifully. With opening lyrics “I always thought I knew where I came from, I always thought I know how but I was wrong” chimes with a feeling many of us come across when finding our own feet in the world. Additionally. the use of backing vocals alluding to many voices coming together emphasises the mutual questioning of ourselves and the world.
Unbeknown to me, as I simply began to listen to the song, that it would make me cry
Following this comes the double act ‘Myela’ and ‘We are Never Apart’; with ‘Myela”s focus on the refugee crisis in the EU and ‘We are Never Apart’s attention on fracking and the desecration of the highly spiritual Standing Rock. Both investigate global issues, and despite the contrast in atmospheres created by both, the first providing fuller and more vibrant tones, and the second slower and more delicate; allowing us to reflect on both topics, they undoubtedly come together beautifully. ‘Remembering’ is next, containing fun and vivid sounds, and words of “energy” and “remembering”, potentially suggesting not only looking at the world’s past but our own past to understand what it means to be who we are.
The guitar, one of Mulvey’s most familiar tools, is key in creating the feeling of movement and looking up in ‘Mountain to Move’. “This moment is a mountain to move, so move it inside” illustrates a message of self-realisation, really hitting home how we all can make our own change. ‘When the Body is Gone’ brings the tone down, beginning with a Spanish-sounding guitar melody and slow beat. The electronic ripples creating bubbles throughout the song makes it quite unique, bringing a beautiful, spiritual and almost mournful element to the album.
Lastly we have ‘Lullaby’, a one minute angelic version of ‘Unconditional’; which you want played in the background as you walk through a mystical forest, ‘In your Hands’ centering around a pensive piano melody, and finally; ‘Infinite Tress’. To end such an emotionally stimulating album you have to end on something breathtaking. The song beings with beautiful chimes and stunning guitar riffs. The opening lines genuinely gave me goose-bumps, with the gorgeous imagery of laying amongst some trees looking at the open sky with someone else (a friend? a lover? someone you like probably?!). Anyway, it leaves this perfect conclusion of looking inwards and outwards, to the future/skies/galaxies/infinity.
Personally, I would say this album blows his debut out of the water. Nick has built on his musical talent not only by a multiplicity of instruments and sounds, but a depth to each and every song which speaks volumes.