ALEX NICOL unveils his profound new solo work: ‘Been A Long Year Vol.1 + Vol.2’ on 1 Dec.
Layered with complex expressions of anger and sadness, “Song for Franz” addresses the way men are conditioned by society to suppress their feelings and the difficulties they face sharing their pain.
“Will this be a story // That ends happily // Like all the movies that I see // Or will the tiny trials add up?” Nicol finds himself questioning here.
While its lyrics are rich with dreamlike imagery of cowboys, movie heroes, and spiritual redemption, the song’s direct inspiration was the loss of Nicol’s own uncle Franz, who took his own life. A crushingly beautiful dedication to his memory, “Song For Franz” serves as a loving tribute but also tells the story of a male protagonist who moves through social conditioning to find exoneration. Expressed through a caricature of toxic masculinity, the song chastises perceptions of male strength and celebrates the bittersweet heartbreak of absolution.
Showing different sides of the same coin, as its title suggests, Nicol’s latest work is made up of two distinct halves. Releasing ‘Volume 1’ earlier this year, it featured tracks including “Hollywood”, “Eye For An Eye” and the Angel Deradoorian-featuring title-track “Been A Long Year”. Together its tracks found an artist focusing on the personally reflective and metaphorical.
And while drawn from similarly thoughtful first-person viewpoints, the songs of its successor, ‘Volume 2’, are far more overt and direct. With songs that comment on the climate emergency, to finding solace in the natural world, to touching tributes to lost loved ones; its songs are noticeably panoramic in their outlook.
Together at last, ‘Volume 1’ and ‘Volume 2’ see Nicol presenting an album-length statement that showcases his deft ability to intermingle the personal and the universal, the minutiae of human emotion and the complexity of global issues. ‘Been A Long Year Vol.1 & Vol.2’ is streaming across all major services now.