Posted in Uncategorized

Retrospective Album: Nick Mulvey – Wake Up Now

As we start a 4 month hiatus from new music and bring back the clock to albums that we personally love but have slipped by the other brothers on ThisIsNotHappening; I predict that the rest of you will find that picking something that nobody has but you’ll hang your hat on is a hard task. This month I’ve gone for a recent favourite in our house, Nick Mulvey’s “Wake Up Now”.

Nick Mulvey has a special place in my world. His first album had just been released in 2014 when Hayley and I first got together and his music was the soundtrack to many of our early memories. His first album came with a fair bit of accolade and had medium commercial success. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing him numerous times and with each time the crowds got bigger. His sound is along the lines of folk he has the ability to connect with people (especially live) and has built a dedicated fan base around the UK and the globe with his gigs routinely selling out.

In the September of 2017 he released his second album “Wake Up Now”. As for many of us allot can change in 3 years. Both internally and externally. I think we can all agree the world had changed a fair bit between 2014-2017 and his lyrics had become more reflective of world humanity and environmental issues. He also had his first child. All of us being fathers on this blog can agree that this impacts everything in your life; especially how we see the world that we now need to guide our children through.

I have read a few articles how Nick Mulvey is a very spiritual person which is very evident on this album. There are some pretty deep thoughts translated throughout  his songs. This mixed with his worldly view it is very evident that this album has a message; wake up now. Wake up to how we’re treating fellow humans and the planet we live on. Not many people are doing this these days it seems. Even Bob Geldof and Bono seemed to have piped down as of late. I like that Nick is doing this. 

When I first approached this album I was excited; but hesitant. I wasn’t fully ready for his message. The song that gripped me was “Imogen”. My daughter was in her first year and many of the lyrics hit straight to the bone. They still do every time is listen to it. 

Throughout the album there is a natural progression he has taken from his first album. The songs are more complex and layered. Many have been written to be played out live. I recently saw him perform this without his band. Just a man and a guitar and it was amazing. 

Why do I like Nick Mulvey and why did I choose this album? Good question. I guess it’s because he makes good music, music that makes you smile, music that makes you sing along… and isn’t you’re not careful music that may open your eyes and try to be a better person.

I’m not sure what the reaction will be from you all. It may be a little like marmite. Hayley likes it, the kids like it and so do I. It’s something that I can put on and everyone enjoys. Hopefully you’ll have a similar result. Enjoy brothers. 

7 thoughts on “Retrospective Album: Nick Mulvey – Wake Up Now

  1. Hey Nolan. Sounds like this album means a lot to you, and that really comes across in the way that you write about it. There are very specific musical memories you have when you have a baby – I still remember when Astrid was born, we were listening to a lot of Laura Cantrell (the alt-country singer), and her song Two Seconds is still burned in my brain. Those musical associations seem stronger than at any other time.

    In a not too dissimilar vein, I recently heard the old Turin Brakes song, ‘Painkiller’ on the radio and I was just blown away by how good it was, and I went back and listened to Turin Brakes’ first two albums for a few days, and had really happy memories of when we used to play them a lot. Mulvey is cut from a similar cloth – very melodic folk-influenced pop music. Keen sense of melody, proper songs, all that kind of thing.

    So why isn’t it grabbing? Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve played it quite a few times and it’s washed over me like perfectly pleasure sonic background noise, but despite having tried to engage with the songs, I’m not finding a way. Maybe that will change. I’m not giving up.

    But maybe also this kind of music can be about a place and time. Just as I wouldn’t expect anyone to pick up Turin Brakes and go – wow, this is great. It’s nice music, it just happens to remind me of a time and place, just as this does for you. You have a connection that I haven’t made. That’s what music’s all about, huh?

  2. Hey. Firstly sorry for such a slow response. I love the write up so much. As David said it really meant a lot to read your words and learn of the place that this music has for you and your family. On first listening the soundscape really grabbed me. The general feel, the groove of the album is right up my strasse. I found myself toe tapping, shuffling with a smile and maybe even doing the odd break out of dad dancing. But for me the lyrics never grabbed me and took me to the next level of connection. I appreciate the subject matter of most tracks is hard to ignore but I’ve found the lyrical craft jarring and disconnecting. It’s meant that while I still enjoy the music washing over me it’s not made the emotional connection that it obviously has for you Nolan. I feel guilty as you’ve obviously taken a risk choosing this. Bravo for doing so. I have given it plenty of time but I’ve not shared your connection. I’ll keep dipping in. Thanks brother.

    1. As ever, I’m crap and late responding. Moving house, moving jobs, and all the rest, but blah blah.

      However, this album is FANTASTIC. I don’t really know how or why it clicked so easily. It’s not my sweet spot. Yes, I’ve heard him in passing. But I think it’s just something in the craft and the details: his melodies are warm and welcoming, but there’s little things – lyrically or sonically – that raise it up much further than “lovely”. The fact I can’t quite put my finger on what they are is interesting, because things are so supposedly obvious these days, so I’m all for nuance and details, and textures, and this album has all of that.

      Nolan, I can see how it’s personal to you. It feels like a soundtrack. I want my wife to listen to it. It’s gorgeous. More of this.

  3. This is a massive grower for me. I’m not sure why I never checked him out before, but it’s brilliant, and I can’t stop listening to it, particularly the opening half (perhaps down to never quite having time to listen to a whole album in one go unless I’m out… curse of work and a short commute and a lot of toddler action!)

    I think the lyrics are great, and the music even more so. As ever, I often struggle to ‘get’ lyrics these days as time is at such a premium, and so I’m rarely listening to an album unencumbered with other distractions – phones, commutes, kids…. – but I’ve made time for this, and it’s a really beautiful listen. Mulvey clearly has a lot of emotion in his lyrics and music, and doesn’t just sing about himself, but the world around him. I find listening to Mayela pretty heartbreaking, and it feels very current, even though the album isn’t out this year. Yes, I’m sure there’s criticisms of cultural appropriation here (not to mention the whole ‘white saviour’ complex), but given the subject matter and the fact he’s highlighting it, not trying to paint himself as the man to solve it, feels fine to me, and it’s great to hear those voices and the Malian / west African guitar melodies too. You can sense the spirituality too, and that’s also good he’s not afraid to wear that on his music (even if it’s not something I share). There’s also electronic influences too, and it’s a bit of a melting pot, which I like. It’s good to see some emotion in music, when that doesn’t feel very cool these days.

    It’s really connected with me – which goes to show you can’t put your finger on the why, but just to enjoy it – and I think it’s going to stay around, and not only that, but I’ll be checking out his other work (recommend me more, Brother Nolan?)

    1. Fantastic, I love how you love this. His first album is amazing as well. It was tough to choose between the two. Fever To The Form is going to be the first dance at my wedding this summer.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s