A dose of timeless jazz, soul, and R&B...

Nick Waterhouse is someone you misjudge at your peril. Part of a wave of vintage soul and R&B enthusiasts emerging after the Millennium, his astute knowledge and fantastic songwriting mark him out from the pack. With his work earning a spot on high profile Playstation games and – albeit covered by another artist – at No. 1 on the French charts, there’s much more here than a simple retro re-tread.

‘Promenade Blue’ is a work of subtle progression, with Nick adding and subtracting colours from his palette. As a primer – it’s perhaps less gritty than some of his earlier work, but the stately, jazz-informed arrangements have a gorgeous character of their own.

‘Place Names’ has a neat late 50s strut, the ultra-clean production adding a chrome-plated shine to the West Coast artist’s voice. ‘Medicine’ has a neat cha-cha element to it, one that feels perfect for Belgium’s popcorn scene, while ‘Fugitive Lover’ is packed with yearning.

An album that deserves to be listened from front to back, ‘Promenade Blue’ has a real purity to its approach, one that immerses you in vintage Hollywood glamour. The arrangements are gorgeous while refusing to let anything go to waste – songs such as ‘Minor Time’ twist on the tiniest of details.

Stirring his brew of jazz, blues, R&B, and gritty soul once more, Nick Waterhouse adds something uniquely personal. A songwriter who would thrive in any setting, his work thrives due to its simple poetry and emotional impact. A love letter to another time, ‘Promenade Blue’ is also resolutely, unashamedly now.

8/10

Words: Robin Murray

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