Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
From the expected - yet massively underwhelming - solo career of Mick Jagger (Hello, ‘Dancing In The Street’), to the unexpected - yet overwhelmingly successful - Phil Collins, pop is littered with stories of singers getting too big for the band. One of the less expected entrants to this list is Grant Nicholas, he of Feeder fame. As a band they’ve always seemed tight, always had a steady sound, always pottered around the mid-range of success. No ideas above their station. ‘Buck Rogers’, ‘Come Back Around’, ‘Tumble And Fall’, all that. But there’s always that little voice: “Can I do better?” and Nicholas has made the leap with his semi- self-produced debut, Yorktown Heights.
Some choose a variation on a theme, some go completely off the reserve. The Welsh-born frontman has chosen the former and a road more travelled: acoustic folk with a hint of indie-rock. As the singer and songwriter for his main gig, there are inevitably similarities in the sound of this solo record. ‘Robots’ and ‘Vampires’ seem familiar, and the deeper into the tracklist you go, the more the beats become familiar. Lead track ‘Soul Mates’, the lighters-in-the-air ‘Tall Trees, and ‘Good Fortune Lies Ahead’ all lean to the stripped-down side of things. Despite a largely downbeat lyrical feel, songs like ‘Hope’ and even ‘Broken Resolutions’ offer a glimpse of light in the dark. No boundaries are pushed but that’s not the aim; Nicholas has achieved something that seems more personal than his previous output, and that alone will be satisfying for him as an artist, and intriguing for Feeder fans.