We first heard Bristol based Nicholson Heal last year while helping to judge the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition. As soon as we heard his submitted track, Lacuna, with its twinkling guitar picking, fine melody and brass section we were hooked.
This was deservedly long-listed by us and we’ve been eagerly awaiting his debut album ever since.
Finally released this month we are not disappointed. Throughout it has the same keen focus on melody and that brass section still sounds great.
Lacuna is here thankfully and is among a number of high points such as Homespun Shotgun, which is elevated by an epic, cinematic chorus. Think Ennio Morricone meets Radiohead.
Lost at Sea is another strong track, displaying a radio friendly pop savvyness, while Diving Bell has some smart afro-beat guitar work. This will appeal to those who like London band Tigercats latest album in particular.
Granted there’s a bunch of nonsense in the press release that did its best to put us off. It’s talk of “a subconscious reflection on the existential questions that pervade the album” almost sent us to sleep. But we do urge other music journalists who are sent this release to forget that tosh and just listen to the album instead.
Nicholson Heal’s Big Jupe sounds great and is packed full of good songs. That’s our two key reviewing boxes ticked.
by Joe Lepper
For more information about Nicholson Heal and to order a copy of Big Jupe visit here.