Music is an inspiration and a lifestyle for Brighton, England’s Nelson King who is a prolific singer-songwriter, having released his 8th full album in less than a decade. His staunch DIY ethic of creating music in his home studio as well as successfully self-releasing albums has allowed him to eschew the rigmarole most bands and songwriters generally struggle with starting out. The nine-track, “Is There Something”, is an impressive effort.
This album has been played fairly constantly in my player for the past week. What impresses me is that I consistently find new bits that stand out depending on my mood. There are some great grooves, brilliant fills, and rocking riffs in classic blues-rock style.
“Is There Something” is rich with mood and atmosphere and yet still has plenty of punch; listen to the first five songs and you’ll know exactly what I mean. And yet, the meditative mode of songs such as “Loving Arms” and “Lost” gives the mind and heart much to chew on, and has left me with deep memories.
The opener, and title track, “Is There Something”, “Feel My Love” and “Jumps” are probably the highlights here. “Why Worry” and “Bye Bye” are both great upbeat songs. “Nothing On Me” builds a sense of urgency and “Roll The Dice” has a swampy feel and nice runs.
“Is There Something” is not an album in which you will hear a young guitar God trying to prove himself. So it does not have the pyrotechnic fireworks of some adolescent protégé; this is a mature compilation of music in which Nelson King has traded fast, catchy licks for intricately woven, heartfelt compositions.
The album is filled with his great tone, which I frankly find more diverse and interesting than the strictly shredding or soloing efforts of some of King’s peers.
Many of the tracks are very atmospheric, and spellbinding. There are plenty of guitar in these songs, but “Is There Something”, is also predominantly a vocal album. Which means the music is infused with more classic arrangements and structures, as opposed to a purely instrumental guitar album. And there is a difference.
However, Nelson King’s sheer technical ability, coupled with a feel, tone and general musicality comes shining through, nonetheless. Having among his favorite songwriters, artists like George Harrison and John Lennon, means that over and above his blues and rock roots, King is also a pop artist at heart, with an ear for catchy songs.
This album is indeed a showcase for a musician who lives inside his music, and creates masterpieces in relative obscurity while the world’s trendy cognoscenti favor hipper Top40 fare. Nelson King’s raw but pristine tone, awe-inspiring chops and songwriting talent deserves a much bigger following.