Carefully looking to strike a balance between making music recognisably your own and not falling into a repetitive rut must be the curse of the musician, but Andrew Nicol - aka Black and White Boy - is still on that high wire and moving incrementally forward.
With his talents as a songwriter it could very well be an easy transition from doing what he wants to, to doing what the public apparently wants, but it’s to his credit that he refuses to write material by numbers and instead remains true to his melancholic heart.
On this outing there are still the strains of his Finn Brothers influences serving as a foundation, but with the addition of some Springsteen-esque flourishes the songs, while still not moving into party anthem territory, have a certain shading to them that brings in some lighter moments that contrasts well with the lyrical content.
It’s very mature fare and written to appeal to a more contemplative audience.
That being the case there is the possibility that some may miss out on the magic that lies therein if they are looking for a quick hit as it’s not a body of material that is looking to grab at the listener, but instead it’s more about forming a relationship with them.
Easing in and taking root and ultimately settling in for the long haul is probably how it could best be described.
It’s certainly difficult to commit to saying whether this is a brave or foolish approach in an era that seems keen to simply be guided towards a more consumerist take on music.
Undoubtedly much of what is on offer in the mainstream is largely deliberately disposable, but I for one will tip my hat to anyone who considers tilting at windmills as a worthy pursuit.
In short some things are really worth the effort of taking the time to explore and in this instance I would recommend that you set aside the time to get your head wrapped around ‘The Avenue.’