Artist – David Nixon’s Navigation
Album – This Side Other Side
Release date – 12th June 2017
Reviewer – Lewis McWilliam
Listening to This Side, Other Side is like being in an episode of Doctor Who. You, the listener, are the enigmatic doctor, and your amplifier or computer, is the time traveling mechanism. This record is a collection of sounds and textures, words and pictures created by David Nixon. Some of the songs are sung by the man himself and some sung by his peers and contemporaries. The first thing to say about this album is just how incredibly well crafted and put together each song is. Every tune is a pop song, in that, they contain incredibly catchy hooks, sweet melodies and well thought-out rhythms. Another thing to point out is just how well observed Nixon is. He clearly knows his music. He knows the history and the structures of genre convention.
The first song titled Somewhere So Unkind is perhaps the best mash up of Bruce Springsteen and The Band. Kudos should be given to Robert Vincent, for he gives us his best Levon Helm impression. It is the kind of song that would play over a sequence of images detailing the day to day life of someone growing in the Midwest. The Days Don’t Get Any Longer Than This is smooth, jazzy and is totally different to our first tune (a common occurrence). Marc Vormawah takes the microphone for this one, crooning like a jazzier Sam Smith over cool piano chords and snare brushes. This tune reminds me a little bit of Harry Connick Jr’s One Fine Thing. Its slick, smokey and really warm.
Scarecrow Friends, featuring Poppy Holiday, is another world totally removed from the others. This time, we are treated to 80’s post punk cabaret, very Deaf School and very Dresden Dolls/Amanda Palmer. Nixon himself, has an incredible voice, Ok, I Love You and Photograph are evident of this claim. The former sounding like the B52s jamming with The Traveling Wilburys, Nixon sings “my heart is beating fast, how long can I last”, we certainly hope he lasts thought-out the album because we don’t want the quality to end.
The last song Photograph sounds like a Pink Floyd influenced Elvis Costello, albeit with The Wondermints giving it in the background. This song is both beautiful and tragic, it is the story of somebody in disarray and saddened by a particular time or period in life. Nixon sings “put away those photographs I cant pretend they don’t exist”; its hard not to get a little teary eyed. My favourite on the album has to be Tale of Cicero. This duet is beautifully shaped in a Nick Cave template and it almost sounds like something lifted from a 50s teen movie. Amy Chalmers sings along with Nixon, almost synonymous to the aforementioned and his dark and murderous ballad, Where the Wild Roses Grow; sung with Kylie Minogue.
This Side, Other Side is a wonderful record that showcases the talents of Mr David Nixon. There is a song for everyone on here and there is plenty for the ‘genre confined’ to explore in due course. My only qualm is with the track listing. Perhaps it would be greater to see a few of Nixon’s a little closer to the introduction, but then with so many great performers guesting on this record, one could imagine an over enthusiastic Nixon eager to put those tunes on first. All good stuff.
Review © 2017 Lewis McWilliam, Liverpool Acoustic
Website – davidnixonsnavigation.com
Facebook – facebook.com/davidnixonsnavigation
Twitter – @davidnixonsnav
After visiting Rome and seeing the incredible Baroque art and architecture wonderfully decorated inside the many chapels and churches there, one can see how ‘human creativity’ has influenced and shaped who we are as a species. I would go as far as to say that visual art and music, performance and literature, drive our species in all areas of human development. As both a musician and writer, I feel like I can experience both the process, creation of music and text, the finished product, and apply these experiences to my writing. As a post-graduate in Popular Music Studies, I have learnt how to ‘view’ a piece of music and analyse it from all angles. As a music-lover, I have a huge back catalogue of CDs, records, biographies and magazines to reference from, with which I enjoy reviewing music. I currently review live shows and music for online music magazine ‘3 Songs & Out’ and I have studied with Liverpool theatre company ‘Grin Theatre’ At present, I work for Vulcan Studios Ltd which is a music rehearsal and recording studio complex. All of these organisations have taught me how to work within a creative environment and how to perfect my writing skills. I look forward to meeting and working with other writers and musicians and I hope to learn from them and their peers.
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