In this supposed age of apathy and indifference where a sneering sense of irony increasingly rules the roost, Nick Mulvey’s second album is something of an anomaly: a direct call for the listener to – for want of a better phrase – ‘stay woke’. While the 2014 Mercury Prize-nominated First Mind proved Mulvey to be a musician with intelligence, poise and a distinct talent for simple yet heartfelt odes to love and emotion, his new album Wake Up Now sees him combine the personal with the political to create a sophomore release which is both astute and assured.
Politics have never been far from Mulvey’s consciousness – he is, for example, quoted as having felt “a bit sick” upon learning of former Prime Minister David Cameron’s admiration for him. Yet they have certainly never been closer to his music than on ‘Myela’, a track which tackles the European refugee crisis and seeks to encapsulate the horror of displacement in an unfeeling twenty-first century global milieu: “they’d rather die once in the sea than dying every day a little more”. ‘We Are Never Apart’ is a poignant elegy to both nature and nurture, to caring for the world around us as closely as our fellow humans, and a quiet protest song against fracking. [ . . . ]