BMA single review by Vince Leigh
The latest release from the Australian music artist, Nicholas Brown, may cause a twinge of déjà vu, yet this doesn’t preclude an appreciation for the subtext beneath its glossy surface.
Up And Coming is a glistening nod to the halcyon days of the 80s, deftly entwining the throbbing beats of Italo Disco and Hi-NRG dance music to form a strangely alluring concoction. This medley beckons the listener in a playfully scheming way with its melange of disparate musical threads that shaped a by gone era.
Brown, a versatile artist wearing the hats of musician, actor, and singer-songwriter, skilfully invokes the spirit of such
luminaries as Dead or Alive and Bananarama while dipping his toes into the eccentric waters of Frankie Goes to Hollywood. In the process, he summons the ghosts of Wham, Giorgio Moroder, and Kylie Minogue’s storied Stock/Aitken/Waterman era, transporting us to a realm of sonic reminiscence.
Discontent gives birth to Up And Coming and soars.
Conceived in collaboration with fellow musical traveller Justin Gagnon amidst the crucible of career frustrations in North Hollywood, Brown’s odyssey saw him donning the mantle of a Bollywood villain opposite Indian luminary Hrithik Roshan, and later, a Wesley Snipes action spectacle scuttled by Snipes’ unfortunate legal entanglements.
Adding fuel to the fire, his manager’s contradictory counsel on body image and the elusive ‘Hollywood-ready’ status only served to deepen Brown’s discontent, giving birth to Up And Coming. Though firmly entrenched in the 80s, Up And Coming aims to soar beyond its temporal trappings, grappling with the zeitgeist of modern-day dilemmas.
Brown yearns for his audience to forge a bond with the heartfelt lyrics, igniting a metamorphic shift in their emotional landscape, ultimately impelling them to dance first and ruminate on the profundities later. As he reflects on his own tribulations, ‘My brushes with racism are inextricably woven into my writing.’
‘My queer identity infuses my work as well. As a member of multiple minority groups, I’ve battled for visibility in my life and career, and I’d like to believe that a message of empowerment permeates my music.’