The term “timeless” has become a bit of a cliche in this hyperbolic world we find ourselves in. But unlike most of the forced and tenuous descriptions proclaiming modern artists to be “groundbreaking,” “unbelievable” or “revolutionary” …timeless is the perfect word for Arvid Nero’s soulful and dexterous acoustic blues. It’s been a couple of years now since the demise of The Magnolia, and Nero’s post-band path has been one that has embraced a more minimalist approach, that boils down music to its emotive essence using only a few sonic colours from the musical palette but blending them with the upmost creativity.
What immediately strikes me as Pineapple Juice gently leads us into the album is the echo of John Martyn, particularly his out of his comfort zone classic album Solid Air, hanging lightly in the spaces between the notes and the pauses between the lyrics. Possibly not a conscious move on the part of Nero but that same warm, soft-edged vocal and dexterous infusions of folk, blues, jazz and classical are fashioned by his inspired guitar work. But whereas Martyn’s many demons seemed to dance around him as he played, Nero offers something much less of a personal exorcism, more of an understated celebration of the world around him.
By the time we get to second track, Look Up To The Sky, Nero has found a way to make this sound totally his own and around his sleek musical lines and heady vocals he wraps sweeping strings and classical grace, washes of music which seem to add delicious and often dramatic musical detail between the main melodies. On The Ground is a gorgeous and brooding meeting of sinister cellos and shimmering guitar melodies, Green Dress, Amber Eyes wanders into some pastoral, pastel pop territories, tipping its hat to Nick Drake as it goes along and the aptly named Farewell signs off with a wave of sensuousness, and hypnotic cascades of a guitar.
There is no way that I wasn’t going to love this 6-track offering. Its grace and grandeur, its power through poise, its charm and chime. Some guitarists become obsessed with volume and equipment, pedals and pose. Arvid Nero goes the other way, playing only what is necessary to create the atmosphere and emotion that he wishes to reproduce and proving that not only that less is certainly more but also, sometimes the less that you have, the more you can create…more or less…if you know what I mean.
There is no way that I wasn’t going to love this 6-track offering.