nick nicely – Space of a Second

Saturday, 30 August 2014, 13:42 | Category : Reviews
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Lo Recordings – Released 6 Oct 2014

Review by Jason Barnard

nick nicely is one of a rare breed of artists who see psychedelia as not a retro trip to summer 67. nick takes inspiration from the innovation of the period but feeds it through a modern dance edged palette. One of his early flowerings was his 1982 EMI single masterpiece “Hilly Fields (1892)” hailed by the NME as “the best psychedelic record since the ‘60s”. Despite being admired by contemporaries Robyn Hitchcock and Andy Partridge, his singles brace of psychedelic electronica in the early eighties did not achieve the commercial success they deserved.

nick nicely space of a second

Since then his he’s embarked on a few periods of creativity and his new album ‘Space of a Second’ is certainly another creative peak for “the greatest popstar that never was…”. Over the past few years I’ve been teased by snatches of this material including an excellent lo-fi reworking of ‘Hilly Fields’ originally on Fruits de Mer vinyl.

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‘Space of a Second’ feels like a bit of follow up to his repeatedly reissued “Psychotropia” collection in that it captures his best work of recent years. For the initiated there elements of nick’s sound that are Numanesque, but rather than a rock edge there’s a house/dance influence which conversely is not easily dance-able too.

Ultimately though nick is not easily categorisable and perhaps that’s why he’s never quite captured mainstream attention but gathered praise from the likes of Noel Gallagher and Temples instead. ‘Space of a Second’s ‘Wrottersley Road’ and ‘Whirlpool’, for example, wash over the listener like a lost soul in dreamlike state twisting the dial on world’s radio. ‘London South’ and ‘Change in Charmaine’ have a lyrical bite and darkness to their hypnotic sounds.

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‘Space of a Second’ closes with nick’s haunting acoustic remodel of ‘Hilly Fields’  which ties in his past and present on this atypical and unparalleled album.

See also my extensive interview with nick here on The Strange Brew.

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