tue 25/06/2024

Album: Nick Mulvey - New Mythology | reviews, news & interviews

Album: Nick Mulvey - New Mythology

Album: Nick Mulvey - New Mythology

The ex-Portico Quartet singer-songwriter continues his increasingly mystic song cycle

The weight of the world floats up'n'away from his shoulders

In these meta times when everything – EVERYTHING! – is ironic, a smirk to be replayed forever on a screen, the last thing we expect is a hippy, a proper real-life hippy, preaching oneness and love. Even yoga sorts these days mostly go on about their own “wellness”, rather than the cosmic inference of it all. Nick Mulvey’s previous albums were lightly marinaded in Baba Ram Dass and ayahuasca revelation but, with his third solo album, New Mythology, he’s gone full mystic.

After creating some of the most gorgeous, original singer-songwriter music of the last decade he doesn’t let empyrean soul epiphanies stop him now. His trademark revolving plucked guitar motifs, borrowed from Afro-Hispanic styles and classical minimalism, are here spiced with settings created with Manu Chao producer Renaud Letang, adding another layer of richness to the broth. There's something of prime Cat Stevens about it, in terms of from-the heart contagiousness rather than the actual sound.

The album boasts a message of “interbeing” (the interconnection of all things) and, occasionally, this aspect leans towards the po-faced (check “Causes”: “We hate suffering but we think we love its causes”), but even then it’s so warmly wrapped in an infectious chug that it’s difficult to resist. In any case, if you’re a hippy, ya gotta preach, man!

At its best, New Mythology lives up to its ambitions, philosophically inclined but also leavened with a glorious inner musical light, as on the heart-elevating strum of “Mona”, or the mesmeric, psychedelically phased “Star Nation”, or the gigantic good-natured love-pop of “Brother to You”, or the stunning contemplation on death and heritage, “Begin Again” (albeit the single version is more immediately involving than this stripped-back take).

“All we want is to know this vivid moment/How we feel now was felt by the ancients.” So sings Nick Mulvey on the bass-backed devotional, “Mecca”, and, in the end, the listener either continues with him on his unique journey to spiritual enlightenment, accompanied by beatific (and very catchy!) music, or they can stand back and mock. The latter would be easy to do. Like any old hack music journo, I was tempted on my first listen, but now I’m swimming free in New Mythology and it feels like bliss.

Below: watch a video of a stripped back version of "Brother to You" by Nick Mulvey

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