Nick Mulvey Follows Up Mercury Prize Nominated ‘First Mind’ With Splendid ‘Wake Up Now’ (ALBUM REVIEW)


Wake Up Now, the second solo album by one of Britain’s most promising up and coming artists, Nick Mulvey, promises to follow in the successful footsteps of its predecessor: Mulvey’s solo full-length debut and a 2014’s Mercury Prize nominee, First Mind. A stunning revelation, as measured by its ethereal elegance and profound and provocative deliberation, it finds an artist with the creative capacity to take daring leaps into heady terrain, flush with an emotional commitment masterfully wielded within the context of his evocative soundscapes.

While Mulvey deserves credit for sharing his soul — a personal perspective that apparently came about after encouragement from Brian Eno — the new album finds subtle shifts in tone and tempo that never deviate from the subtle sonics that temper the effort overall. With Ethan Johns sitting behind the boards, that effusive essence remains intact, with songs such as “Transform Your Game (“We Remain,” “Imogen” and “We Are Never Apart” finding the singer in meditative modes that are both shimmering and serene. Some songs — “Myela,” “Mountain To Move” and “Remembering” in particular — underscore the supple melodies with worldly rhythms, but there’s a sense of serenity that remains front and center. It’s an easy glide from track to track, clear in its consistency and boasting an easy embrace throughout.

Ultimately, Wake Up Now is the kind of album capable of making an emphatic impression, even despite its otherwise unobtrusive intents. It does what few albums are capable of cultivating, that is, giving a defining sense of the identity of the artist that’s at the helm. It’s the kind of record that will likely resonate for months, or even years, to come — assertive, engaging and supremely satisfying in both concept and creation. There will likely be more milestones in Mulvey’s future, but suffice it to say that at least for now, he’s etched a powerful impression.

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