Nick Waterhouse - Promenade Blue
Me and Mrs JO'B like a bit of Mr Waterhouse. We saw him at 229 The Venue back in 2019. His brand of retro-soul is a mix of RnB, New Orleans jazz and garage rock. He may look like Morrissey's cooler, beefier librarian cousin, but he can rock like a demon. We cut our respective rugs that evening.
Promenade Blue is his 5th album, co-produced with Paul Butler (who has produced the marvellous Michael Kiwanuka). Place Names kicks things off, a stately and steady strut. Medicine shuffles along with finesse and style, its baritone soul backing vocals give it a cool cha-cha-cha groove.
Promene Blue could soundtrack some 50s broken detective, sat in a bar drinking his troubles away In some marvellous black & white movie. You can imagine the bleach blonde "dame" arriving, standing in the smoke and the shadows, as the sax kicks in. It's evocative and desperately needs a noir-crime drama to soundtrack.
Meanwhile, B Santa Ana, 1986 is an homage to his native California, while Very Blue is Ray Charles updated. Silver Bracelet feels like some dark Coasters-style number, a love lost- "I still hear those rattling silver charms"...
Vincentine is a horn-driven stomper, with a cheeky lift from Wallace Stevens' poem, The Apostrophe to Vincentine. It's the most complete track here and will feature on my May playlist.
Closer To Tell is another kitchen sink production (this man likes a bit of Phil Spector clearly). Overall, the album builds on his 50s/60s timewarp - any why not, when it's as cool as this album?