After five-years without releasing any music, ex-enemy frontman Tom Clarke returns with an intriguing tale that started back in 1979, with the XTC song ‘Making plans for Nigel’
Since 2016, he’s been touring the country playing an acoustic performance of ‘We’ll Live and Die in These Towns’ to many The Enemy fans, but over the past two years he has been working away at this new project. Describing it himself as “a real marmite record“, it is definitely a change in direction from the 2000s indie-rock we’re used to from The Enemy but is a real showcase of his talent and ability to write not only a record but an intricate story, with links to earlier songs by The Enemy and XTC.
‘The Chronicles of Nigel’ follows on from ‘Be Somebody’, revisiting Nigel 11 years later. Without giving too much away, because it’s almost like a film within a record as you follow the story song by song, it begins with Nigel reflecting on the last few years and growing older, and the relationship deteriorating between him and his wife, Shelly (a hint towards Technodanceaphobic). Bad decisions and misjudgment lead to things spiraling out of control for Nigel, and with an array of instruments that group together to make a sound very much like a film-score, the record is very emotive.
Not only do we hear from Nigel, who’s words are told through the voice of Tom, but the album also features Grace Ackerman as Shelly, and the recognisable Northern voice of Ralph Ineson, playing a mutual friend of Nigel and the listener. With such depth in the detail of this story, it’s not too hard to imagine the tale as a film or a tv show, which would be an interesting watch (hopefully with Ralph starring too).
Releasing his debut solo album without the support of a major label, he’s decided only to release it via physical formats (CD and Vinyl) or only as a download if bought directly from his website. Due to this, the album has already paid off all of the costs involved in producing it just from pre-orders. With the CD and download option available now, and the vinyl option, which has already sold out, released spring 2021, ‘The Chronicles of Nigel’ seems to have been a success and has had a great reception on social media from many people.
You can purchase the album here