Nigel BrownNigel Brown
Album: Mother Ivey
Label: Cellar Songs
Tracks: 13

"Mother Ivey" is the third album from Nigel Brown that I've reviewed over the years and I would suggest that this is his most accessible to date. That's not to say that there aren't tracks on this album that still need to grow on you, there are, but there is a lot more here to lure the casual listener in and make them want to spend time with the album.

I think that may be down to the Nigel allowing a few more film and tv soundtrack foibles to creep into his songwriting. They are two different disciplines, unlike songwriting, soundtrack does have to be of the here and now. If people aren't getting it to all intents and purposes, the moment has gone and left a taste of disappointment. In theory songwriter and songs should have an opportunity to grow as they are more than a veneer, a lot of the better ones have depth.

"Mother Ivey" strikes a nice middle ground, ground with songs split across accessibility and narrative. To me the key that holds "Mother Ivey" together is that the easily accessible songs aren't superficial, they also have a strength to them that means they remain with you and most importantly they are just as valid once the rest of the album comes into focus, a process that takes less time than it has with previous cuts.

The sound, predominantly folk rock and blues rock, with a few variations, isn't far from hid previous albums, but feels a bit more rounded and the riffs seem more at home and all that seems to have been achieved without selling out the social justice sensibilities that for the core of many of Brown's songs.

Whilst it easier to get into "Mother Ivey", it is an album that has much to reveal on subsequent plays, it is one that is there for the long term. Music and narrative are really gelling here so definitely worth a punt.

Neil King