Following the disastrous Canadian wildfires of 2023, Montreal singer-songwriter – ALEX NICOL – shares his environmental anxieties with the new single: “Simple Fires”.
“Simple Fires” reflects the concerns and realities of our shared, climate-connected world. The Canadian wildfires of 2023 saw several global cities (including Montreal and New York) report some of the worst air quality on record, causing widespread alerts and evacuations. The smoke not only impacted North America but also crossed the Atlantic, impacting the lives of Europeans. In response, Nicol ponders if what is done cannot be undone.
“The farther we come, the closer we get to destruction…” Nicol laments, “Simple fires can be mended, but not the kind that’s burning up in me”.
“Simple Fires” is accompanied by an animated official video by Quentin Delobel (Poppip Studio), which paints a moving picture of humans’ destruction of nature. Of the music video, director Quentin says, “I followed the feeling of child-like naïveté conveyed in the song and came up with this imaginary yet unfortunately familiar world – one that ends with a dark real life twist.” Watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jdJgsDWxXWQ
Hallmarked with the kind of thoughtful lyricism and graceful melancholia that have become his calling cards, in his latest outing Alex Nicol casts a withering gaze upon a natural world being laid to waste at the hands of ignorance, governmental inaction, and corporate industrial greed. As Nicol elaborates:
“”Simple Fires” was originally written about the figurative, metaphorical ways in which the world was burning, but took on greater gravity as ecological destruction and corporate greed literally set the world on fire. The song’s languid guitars and softly glimmering strings don’t immediately call to mind the same dark orange hue of wildfire smoke polluting the skies, but the dreamy, impressionistically painted lyrics serve as a fogged window for my overt concerns about environmental collapse.”
As a response to the merciless Canadian wildfires of 2023, which have been linked to emissions from gas, oil, and coal companies, “Simple Fires” finds the artist taking direct aim at the fossil fuel industry and their destruction of the planet in the name of profiteering. Taken from the upcoming album, ‘Been A Long Year Vol.1 & Vol.2’, the song is just one of a number of tracks that find Nicol addressing more wide-reaching issues with his latest collection.
Though all of Nicol’s music is drawn from his thoughtful first-person viewpoints, the previously released ‘Been A Long Year Vol. 1’ found an artist focusing on the personally reflective and metaphorical. However, the songs of its successor – five new songs collectively known as ‘Been A Long Year Vol. 2’ – are far more overt and direct. Take lead single “Working On My Tan”, which looks at how difficult it can be to disconnect from everyday pressures and instead seek solace from the natural world. Or the bittersweet eulogy “Song For Franz”, a song dedicated to his late uncle, that ultimately reflects a wider issue of how men are socialised to deny their emotions. And of course, his latest revelation “Simple Fires”, a track calling out the fossil fuel industry and their destructive practices.
Showing different sides of the same coin, ‘Volume 1’ and ‘Volume 2’ will come together in an album-length statement that showcases Nicol’s deft ability to intermingle the personal and the universal, the minutiae of human emotion and the complexity of global issues. Both parts will be available to listen to as one album from 1st December 2023. The singles “Working On My Tan” and “Simple Fires” are available now.
ALEX NICOL – NEW EP: ‘BEEN A LONG YEAR VOL.1 & VOL.2’
OUT 1 DECEMBER 2023
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FURTHER PRAISE FOR ALEX NICOL
“feels very much like an exhalation, as Nicol’s assured vocals weave into a tapestry of sound that occasionally recalls Andrew Bird in its orchestral swells.”
FLOOD Magazine on “Been A Long Year”
“Alex Nicol writes hauntingly enigmatic tunes and this new EP is a simply beautiful collection of songs. He sings like an angel and his fragile vocal truly touches the soul!”
Guy Chadwick, HOUSE OF LOVE
“full of floating melodies and dark textures”
UNDER THE RADAR