Basking in the last embers of late Summer, Montreal singer-songwriter – ALEX NICOL – is back with the new single “Working On My Tan”.
Exuding a warmth of sound, texture, and soul, the track arrives as the first taste of his forthcoming collection ‘Been A Long Year Vol.1 & Vol.2’.
Laced with gentle humour, laid-back alt-folk arrangements, and set to a relaxed pace that takes the world in its stride; on the surface “Working On My Tan” is a spacious and tranquil listen, but one that conceals a deeper tension brewing beneath.
A song that steps into the skin of someone who is not the complete vision of calm they project, Alex Nicol explains of its subject matter:
“[In “Working On My Tan”] the protagonist runs through a list of ways he’s trying to be present and live in the moment, but he’s clearly struggling to find a sense of lasting calm in an overwhelming world. Ultimately, the song finds its antidote for stress overload by connecting with the natural world, but also examines how difficult unplugging from the grind can be.”
“Working On My Tan” is accompanied by an artful official video by A, which finds a father-like figure enjoying the high life of freedom and the simple joys found in nature.
The single is the first track to be cut from Nicol’s upcoming new album ‘Been A Long Year Vol.1 & Vol.2’, also announced today. Where ‘Volume One’, released earlier this year, was drawn from Nicol’s internal world, its partnering half ‘Volume Two’ finds him looking outside of himself to address more wide-reaching issues. With a slightly lighter application of the nuanced folk-rock style he’s been growing into, these additional five tracks find Nicol journeying outwards; moving past the grief and sorrow happening in his own head to explore bigger picture themes.
Though all of Nicol’s music is drawn from his thoughtful first-person viewpoints, ‘Been A Long Year Vol. 1’ was more reflective and metaphorical. However, the songs of its successor are far more overt and direct. Take “Simple Fires”, a track calling out the fossil fuel industry and their destructive practices. Or lead single “Working On My Tan”, which looks at how difficult it can be to disconnect from everyday pressures and instead seek solace from the natural world. Or the bittersweet eulogy “Song For Franz”, a song dedicated to his late uncle, that ultimately reflects a wider issue of how men are socialized to deny their emotions.
Showing different sides of the same coin, ‘Volume 1’ and ‘Volume 2’ come together in an album-length statement that showcases Nicol’s deft ability to intermingle the personal and the universal, the minutiae of human emotion and the complexity of global issues. Both parts will be available to listen to as one album from 1st December 2023. Lead single “Working On My Tan” is available now.