Album: Andy Nice – The Secrets of Me

Andy Nice has played cello with screaming gothic pervs Cradle of Filth and bald techno ravers Orbital, and is currently in string + dance combo Instrumental. He also has a name more suited to a particularly over familiar used car salesman.

Ignoring the fact he’s currently touring with deep-voiced chamber-pop stars Tindersticks and the embroidered patch on the front of the cd, you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s not much here for the good people of FFS. But press play and an entirely different sound to that expected issues forth – arresting, emotional, complex yet melodic cello music. And it really is cello music, pretty much just that instrument, with songs formed from layer after layer of rich string sound.

First track ‘Orangeblu’ attracts attention with solemn, slightly jazzy bass plucking, then gently tosses a selection of mournful swells on top to seal the deal. ‘Ballax’ begins with a lone string crying a sad song. It’s slowly joined by other notes rising in solidarity, forming a glowing drone of melody around a restless and dark inner core.

‘Dr Titan’ is all creeping tension, menace and corrupted beauty, like walking through a once decadent ruined city. ‘Somebody take me home’ messes with the formula in a not entirely successful manner with some guitar and laid-back female vocals, but on the whole these seven tracks effectively evoke an unusual yet beguiling space.

Nice takes the kind of yearning post-rock violin wielded by the likes of A Silver Mount Zion, dips it in the rarefied world of modern classical, adds a healthy sense of melody and leaves the listener to process the hypnotic results. “Pushing the boundaries of cello,” as he puts it, never sounded quite so, well, nice. 

Words: Adam Bambury