Another Fine Mess
Having had the pleasure of spending 90 minutes in the company of Nick Marshall’s music and words, one can’t help but feel that an evening spent with the man himself would be time well passed – there is a warmth and humanity to what he does that can’t help but spread to those around him.
Another Fine Mess is a double cd that introduces itself with a chorus of voices and, whilst this is very much a solo album, does set the tone for the major themes of the album – his observations on social conditions, the environmental crisis and our legacy to those who will follow us, but certainly won’t be expressing their thanks. Allied to that, there are some rather niche issues addressed that are related to the wider themes – possibly the only song that you will ever hear that looks at social stratification and class privilege through the lens of adjusted A level grades – or the ‘Algorithm and Blues’ as he terms it in his track ‘The Tree, The Bee and The Posh Boy.‘ which introduces another element of the album – his lyrical playfulness and sense of humour, which pervades the album = perhaps best exemplified by ‘RSVP’ Track 2 of Disc 2 – apparently recorded live in Ambleside, which has wordplay throughout, but ends with not one, but two twists.
Although Nick is joined by a range of musicianly friends throughout the album, besides his self-penned songs, along with one contribution from a certain Percy Bysshe Shelley, whose poem Masque of Anarchy has been set to music, he also plays a wide range of instruments – all adding layers and interest to the basics of an album that is also impeccably produced – and comes in a very attractive and informative package – all the words, instrumentation and personnel are detailed - along with a short detail on how, when or why the song was written.
Recorded in Cumbria, the album also reflects the history, folklore and landscapes of the area, from the instrumental Snowdrop, played simply on an acoustic guitar, to ‘The Beckside Boggle’, a ghost story of Miterdale and ‘‘til They Take No More’, based on an 18th Century nursery rhyme.
The double cd format allows Nick to explore a variety of themes and styles – as he also alters his voice to suit the songs – from a throaty gravel, through an almost conversational style to a more playful persona, reminiscent of The Small Faces, this all adds up to an album that is never devoid of interest, and an excellent accompaniment to a decent drive (where most cd listening takes place these days). A Fine Selection and definitely not a Mess!!
Available via www.nickjmarshall.co.uk or search for Porsean Records
Another Fine Mess