I spoke to Nigel Thomas back in November, shortly after the release of “Fever” – his debut single as a solo artist and the album’s opening track – and found him to be a kind and sensitive soul, now able to count the likes of Blur’s Dave Rowntree and Indie mogul Alan McGee among his fans.
“Fever” explored the theme of mental illness, something with which the ex-primary care trust worker had had previous experience, and I was keen to hear whether the rest of the album, recorded at London’s Tilehouse Studios with help from Mike Oldfield’s son Luke, was of a similarly high standard.
Track two is the late-period Beatles-esque “Anne,” an at times psychedelic piece about Anne Frank that features a strong, well-enunciated, very English vocal and a rather moody, yet highly effective melody.
“Dancing,” a beautifully swirling slice of whimsy – reminiscent of early Pink Floyd – is a treat to the ears. In contrast, the next single “Ghost Hunter” is a booming reggae number, though the vocal remains as honest and enchanting as ever.
I loved the title track, a groovy rock song with a toe-tapping rhythm and some bluesy harmonica, while in keeping with the stark contrasts present throughout, the glorious “Destiny” is almost childlike in its delivery. The other-worldly “Que Sera” is another moment to savour and is quite possibly my favourite song on the album.
One of the most satisfying things about this release is the wide array of instruments used, an avenue the artist wasn’t really able to explore as a member of an indie rock band. Now freed from the shackles, Nigel Thomas has made the record he wanted to make and it’s all the better for it.
In answer to the question thrown out there at the start, yes, the rest of the LP is of a similarly high standard to the debut single and, come the end of the year, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Travelling Man appears on a number of Album of the Year lists. It certainly deserves to.
Travelling Man and the new single, “Ghost Hunter,” will be available from March 14.
For more information on Nigel Thomas, visit his official website.