Nick Murphy’s ‘Missing Link’ EP: A review

Photo: House of Lords

A new name means a new album.

After changing his performance name ‘Chet Faker’ to his real name ‘Nick Murphy’ last year, we have been waiting to hear what the new Nick has in store…. And it has arrived.

Diverse is an understatement – comprising of a mix of afrobeat, R&B, soul and Kaytranada signature sounds.

The vibrant sounds are very much suggestive of his move to the Big Apple (NYC) in 2014 – which was when he released his last album ‘Built on Glass’.

Pitchfork summed the album up rather nicely as “a mixed bad of mostly under-developed ideas and polished demo’s”.

‘Your Time’ is the perfect track for the album to open with, setting the tone well. You can definitely feel the Kaytranada influence in the technical production of the track. Which has this modern 80’s feel with the dark, woozy synths and mysterious, resonating clicks in the background.

Starting relatively slow with Murphy’s familiar, husky yet sultry vocals which speaks of a longing for someone’s time and attention.

As the clicks get heavier, the drum and synth kicks in and get louder alongside Murphy’s simmering vocals growing in their intensity.

About halfway through the track, Murphy’s voice is warped and is reminiscent of   Kanye-esque type vocals when he sings “This could be the only place, I take you on this ride”.

In essence, the song perfectly captures the need for ‘time’ which becomes overbearing and almost, obsessive as seen in the demanding nature of his vocals.

‘Bye’ is a short track but easily gives you that much-needed ‘hit’. With a sound reminiscent of that raw, old time rock ‘n’ roll vibe with the earthy guitar strumming. The song rolls into this winding descent, sending you into a trance. Something about this track makes it really addictive to listen to. The eccentric synth fused with the sanity of the drum constantly will bring you back to reality.

‘I’m Ready’ begins with some rather unpleasant squeely beeps and bops. Then it calms into something more melodic combined with Murphy’s familiar husky voice. Personally, Murphy’s voice in this track begins to sound a lot like an instrument.

‘Forget About Me’ definitely has this new Nick Murphy vibe as we get to hear a much higher-pitched version of his vocals. The opening bells are alerting but also have this funeral bell sounds to them perhaps due to their slowness. Then everything energetically picks up with an upbeat drum beat and acoustics alongside zippy synth effects. Murphy’s vocals bring this well-needed warmth to the song.

‘Weak Education’ has such a quirky beginning, almost possessing this oriental sound through calming whistles, percussion and flute, and even a trumpet which you can just mildly hear in the background. Progressing with a catchy drum beat, it becomes almost impossible not to bop your head along. Maintaining their subtleness, Murphy’s vocals are somewhat filtered allowing the instruments to do most of the talking.

I feel like Murphy is experimenting a lot with his voice in this album and working alongside producers like, Kaytranada has allowed for him to do so in a way that is different but still familiar and enjoyable.


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