Ahead of a new album planned for later in the year, Nick Nicely presents us with a lovely single to act as a sonic scouting party. But like all great art, On The Beach is a double-edged sword, a wonderful contradiction and although it outwardly shimmers with gorgeous fragility and paints some deft and delicate sonic images, it hides a shrouded heart.
At the root of the song is a personal memory of a dark time for the artist, a reminder that often guardian angels come in very human forms and that sometimes our lowest points are worth re-examining, able to act as catalysts for creative expression. It is this blend of chiming sonic highs and personal lows which forms the opposites which attract within the record, a personal defeat being turned into musical success.
On The Beach is a song that floats and flows more than grooves, built, seemingly, of layers of gossamer textures, opaque and ever-shifting in its sonic hues, weightless but somehow all-encompassing too.
It’s travelling partner, what in times past we would have referred to as a b-side, not only comes with the seal of approval from none other than Martin Newell, which is pretty good in my book, but also features the vocal talents of former Apollo Sunshine singer Jesse S Gallagher. Lives Unlived, as the name suggests, reminds us just how powerful a force the hand of chance, change and if you believe in such things, destiny, is, and how it guides our lives, an unbidden power that pulls on our strings as we human marionettes dance through our days.
As always, this is gorgeous music, but did you expect anything else? Delicate and deep, graceful yet grounded, Nicholas the Nice doing what he does so well. And if you think that it is a long wait between now and an autumnal album release, there is at least one more single slated for release this summer, to whet the appetite even further.