Nick Mulvey’s new album is full of joy, wisdom and percussive delights. Here’s why you should listen to Wake Up Now, now.
Having first heard songs from the album back in June, during Nick’s warm-up tour, it felt like a long couple of months before Wake Up Now finally arrived.
It was definitely worth the wait. Wake Up Now sees the complex, driving guitar patterns, so prevalent in Mulvey’s 2014 album First Mind, take a back seat. Instead, Mulvey has given us a different, carefully balanced and rich community of sounds – formed by a tight-knit group of talented musicians.
Connectedness and the constant flow of energy are key ideas in Wake Up Now and Mulvey cleverly emphasises them through repetition of lyrical and melodic motifs.
Instead of existing individually, the songs on the album are part of a wider tapestry of meaning. Concepts are decidedly unconfined, drifting in and out of focus across the album and weaving it all together as one. Just like the Mandala cover art can be broken up into smaller patterns, parts of itself, printed inside the sleeve- the songs should be seen as parts of something bigger than themselves.
The upbeat and energetic first track, ‘Unconditional’ is transformed into the delicate ‘Lullaby’ later on in the album, the title “Wake Up Now” is repeated throughout ‘Mountain to Move’ and the name “Myela” appears in both ‘Myela’ and ‘We Are Never Apart’- the songs with the strongest political messages about the refugee crisis, fracking and the threats faced by indigenous peoples today.
With defiant, rhythmic lyrics like “freedom from the cage of this supposed civilisation”, accompanied by a stunning animated video, created by Iranian filmmaker and refugee Majid Adin, Mulvey and Frederico Bruno’s ‘Myela’ is one of the most striking songs on the album.
“Myela”, a name connected with the unborn baby of a Sudanese refugee in the song, becomes symbolic of futurity- which explains its use in ‘We Are Never Apart’, a song concerned with the future of the natural landscape, in the face of fracking, and a growing sense of insecurity surrounding indigenous cultures. ‘We Are Never Apart’, with its gentle but insistent rhythmic force and beautiful melody, is mesmerising.
Mulvey said, during his warm-up show, that becoming a father has had a big influence on Wake Up Now.
It’s easy to see this in songs like ‘Remembering’, a hearty tune about the value of family and friendship. The lyrics are great, Mulvey even gets the word “corduroys” in there and makes it sound cool, and the backing vocals are uplifting; its a good one for a rainy day. Vocalists Isadora Mulvey, Fifi Dewey and Maddy Brodrick make the album extra special, creating warm backing vocals throughout.
Wake Up Now is a gem of an album. It’s a mix of instant favourites, ’Unconditional’ and ‘Mountain to Move’, and intriguing growers like the mysterious ‘When The Body Is Gone’ and ‘Infinite Trees’… providing funky, interesting listening with ethereal soundscapes and hypnotic mantras that trickle into your thought processes over time.