Nev Cottee - Broken Flowers album review

Psych folk minimalism from northern England

Nev Cottee - Broken Flowers album artwork

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Manchester’s Nev Cottee has prior form in several local bands, most notably Proud Mary, whose first album was issued on Noel Gallagher’s Sour Mash label in 2001.

He’s also recorded a couple of recent collaborative efforts with Colorama’s Carwyn Ellis, who also co-produced his 2013 solo debut, Stations. This time around, Cottee has hooked up with producer Mason Neely to shape a low-key batch of songs that draw their power from an admirable use of restraint. Cottee’s voice is the central element on Broken Flowers, very rarely rising above a soft growl and reminiscent of Lee Hazlewood’s downbeat early 70s work on Requiem For An Almost Lady. Songs like Asunder and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead are set to stark piano, while the sadcore balladry of The House Where I Live is so forlorn that it makes Leonard Cohen sound like a prankster at a pool party. Things get more animated with Be On Your Way and Nobody’s Fool, both of which feature raspy guitar, drums and discreet synths, nudging Cottee’s music into raw psychedelic territory. The centrepiece is the epic Tired Of Love, an ambient beauty that marries his voice to classical strings and sleepy progtronica.

Rob Hughes

Freelance writer for Classic Rock since 2008, and sister title Prog since its inception in 2009. Regular contributor to Uncut magazine for over 20 years. Other clients include Word magazine, Record Collector, The Guardian, Sunday Times, The Telegraph and When Saturday Comes. Alongside Marc Riley, co-presenter of long-running A-Z Of David Bowie podcast. Also appears twice a week on Riley’s BBC6 radio show, rifling through old copies of the NME and Melody Maker in the Parallel Universe slot. Designed Aston Villa’s kit during a previous life as a sportswear designer. Geezer Butler told him he loved the all-black away strip.