REVIEW album Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha

Debut album from ex Portico Quartet member Nick Mulvey.

Old Subbacultcha

Old Subbacultcha

Produced by Dan Carey (Hot Chip, Steve Mason)
First Mind brings together African, Cuban and calypso rhythms with astute lyrics and tongue-twisters – “after all the people picking people picking people apart” and laid-back acoustic vibes.


Nick Mulvey - First Mind 7/10 OUT NOW on Fiction Records

Nick Mulvey, is an English musician who after studying music and art in Cuba took a course in study Ethnomusicology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, he was also a member of the Mercury Prize nominated and Alt-J influencing jazz collective Portico Quartet. In which he played an instrument called The Hang, a sort of UFO shaped metal drum. 2013 saw him supporting Laura Marling on tour and he was included in the BBCs Sound of 2014 shortlist. Following the release of
Fever to the Form, Nitrous and
Cucuruca as singles
First Mind is a hotly anticipated release, we even caught up with him ahead of this release, read the interview
here. The aforementioned single,
Fever to the Form  is a strong opening album track, its guitar lick is hypnotic and you can sense the African and Cuban influences hidden beneath the folky sound in this rhythm and beats. Although it is easy to draw comparisons with the likes of fellow acoustic songsmiths like Nick Drake, John Martyn and Jose Gonzalez, Mulvey manages to craft his own take on the acoustic genre. There’s also elements of Paul Simon, for example on
Nitrous he tells the story of a daydreamer selling laughing gas, mixing in the chorus from Olive’s 90s dance anthem
You’re Not Alone. In theory it shouldn’t work but it somehow does and creates the albums best track, For all its subtleties and nuances it drifts a little and while there are some seriously hooky moments, the guitar riff on
Juramidam or the catchy
Cucurcua chorus its neither mind blowing or especially memorable.
Ailsa Craig is a little wishy-washy and lacks the buzzy vibes of the fantastic
Nitrous – festival anthem of the summer of 2014?
His world-weary soft drawl is both swoony and dreamy but on occasion unremarkable and a little dreary. The likes of
Venus becomes repetitive with its extended acoustic strumming and
The Trellis for all its beauty and intricacies feels underwhelming. For a debut album there’s lots to enjoy and there are some wonderfully beautiful and inspiring moments (
Juramidam in particular) but it isn’t quite sustained for the whole album, definitely an artist to catch live over the summer and highly recommended to give
First Mind a listen.