Nick Mulvey brings back the acoustic protest song.
It’s been a bit of an indie music cliché for many years that each new band will criticise those that preceded them by claiming that those previous acts “didn’t really say something”. It’s a statement thrown at every genre from pop and rock to punk and folk.
Interestingly, very few of the acts who throw this claim around have a particularly strong message in most of their songs.
This can’t be said of Nick Mulvey, however, whose latest single We Are Never Apart sees a return to form for the acoustic protest song. While Mulvey has previously exhibited a knack for penning beautiful, melodic acoustopop, the latest offering takes these stylings to the eco-political arena.
The track is as melodic as Mulvey’s usual work. In fact, with the inclusion of a female backing vocalist with a grounded vocal that complements Mulvey, this is arguably more textured than some of the artist’s previous offerings. What sets this single apart, however, is its upfront and explicit subject matter: this is a song that sees Mulvey take on the environmental issue of fracking.
While the lyrical matter of the song leaves little ambiguity as to the topic, Mulvey himself has explicitly stated on Facebook that the song is “expressing [Mulvey’s] dismay at the desecration of sacred land at Standing Rock and the government sanctioned commencement of fracking in the U.K.”.
Despite this explicit statement of intent, the track manages to get its environmentally concerned point of view across without sounding even remotely preachy or self-righteous. The track is memorable, melodic and a testament to Mulvey’s power as a songwriter.