In the past few years, it seems like everyone’s been hopping on the old album bandwagon – none more-so than the daytime TV dads of the world. Pointless presenter Alexander Armstrong – sorry, Pointless presenter Alexander Armstrong – has had a go. Shane Ritchie has had several goes. None have been quite as Earth-shatteringly out-there, though, as Nick Knowles’ foray into songsmithery.
‘Every Kind Of People’, Nick Knowles’ debut album, released last year, is a Secret Santa dream come true. A record that fulfils both mum’s wishlist and dad’s hard-to-buy-for demands for ‘nothing big’, it’s filled with enough sauce to fill a dinner plate and enough rock ‘n’ roll tropes to make Knowles-y come off like a Top Gear driving compilation turned sentient. The DIY SOS host (and current I’m A Celebrity… contestant) has the authenticity to back it up, too – last night on I’m A Celeb, he revealed that his foray into music came as the result of a jam session with none other than Biffy Clyro. Sure. Why not?
With that in mind, and all eyes once again on Nick’s music-making sideline, what better time to revisit the record. Below, we go track-by-track through ‘Every Kind Of People’, and find a Nick Knowles who’s impossibly horny, emotionally erratic, and could well be suffering from a few vocal problems.
- Every Kinda People
Kicking things off with the title-track, nay theme song of this cinematic epic, ‘Every Kinda People’ is a cover of Robert Palmer’s 1978 pro-inclusivity woke-athon – the perfect introduction to Nick’s new, oh-so-2018 persona. He’s even shortened ‘Kind Of’ to ‘Kinda’, just in case there was any doubting that Nick’s a pretty chilled out entertainer, these days. Honestly, though, his vocal twang. He sounds like a cartoon cowboy. The Desperate Dan of DIY SOS. This will, it seems, become a running theme.
- You’re The First, The Last, My Everything
Track two finds Knowles-y slowing things right down, for a riverside ballad fit for a muggy day in the American Deep South. There’s even a harmonica solo for good measure. His voice reaches almost Biblical levels of low-slung drawl, here – he’s less cowboy, and more gurgling, gold-filled brook. At first, it’s almost comical, but by the time his chest-rumbling vocal’s stretched through an entire song’s worth of guuuuuuuurls, we defy you not to weaken at every joint.
- Your Body Is A Wonderland
Right-o. If ‘You’re The First…’ was the foreplay, this is a full-on ranch-ready raunch-fest. Atop a twanging banjo, he mutters his way through a run-down of his lady’s most aesthetically pleasing elements. “You want love? Then we’ll make it” he half-whispers, like your mum’s new step-dad making crude jokes over pudding, after one too many Christmas sherries. It’s seedier and sweatier than a dogger in the desert.
- Make You Feel My Love
Another softer number now, but don’t be fooled. He might be singing about making you happy, and “your dreams come true”, but will you just listen to how he’s doing it? Through gritted teeth and with a snarl drawn from the depths of his loins, he sounds like he’s about to pass out. It’s like he’s addressing one of his DIY SOS contestants, but with a stonk-on in his jeans. It’s absolute fuckin’ filth.
- Here Comes The Sun
Jesus Christ, finally. Halfway through, we’re finally getting something wholesome. This one’s a more perky, less pervy number – it’s a spirited hop, skip and swing dance through a more positive outlook. Also, when he sings about how the “ice is slowly melting”, he kinda sounds like he’s saying “ISIS slowly melting”, to be honest. Is Nick Knowles about to save us all from the threat of international terrorism? Frankly, we’ve read far weirder headlines this year.
- Where Do The Children Play?
Horns! Here we go! We’ve hopped out of the Deep South now, and we’re heading up the Californian coastal highway. “We’ve come a long way, we’re building day-to-day,” Nick croaks atop honky-tonk musicianship – another nod to his decorator past, perhaps? Things are really starting to pick up here.
- Waiting For The Love Of My Life To Walk In
Oh god, what a tone switch – he’s a real sad lad now. It’s hard to hear him like this, we can’t lie. Desperate for love, and practically sobbing into his guitar (except for when he says he’s already got “lots of” best friends – show off), this is Nick as his most stripped-back and raw, like a plaster wall with the Artex wall paper peeled away.
- Let My Love Be Your Shelter
In all seriousness, this might be the best track on the record. It’s actually… really quite good? The instrumentation is rich, the chorus harmonies take the overly-grizzly edge off Nick’s vocal, and his take on the Mercurymen classic is, frankly, quite befitting of a guy who’s spent his telly career providing shelter for those less well-off than himself. Fair fucks, Mr Knowles.
This one’s seemingly led by a ukulele, so we’re already docking a couple of points for sheer twee-ness. Sorry pal, but them’s the rules. However, he’s gone all out on the Christmas vibes, which – as ’tis the season – grants him about 50 bonus points. From the sun-drenched American South to a snow-dusted Christmas song – is this anything this album can’t do?
Thankfully, we’re picking up the pace again for the final stretch. A jittery guitar and some positivity reign here – after all, Nick’s never one to leave a job half-finished, or a fan down-in-the-dumps. It’s a comforting cup of tea and a supermarket own-brand biscuit as ‘River’’s winter begins to thaw.
- What A Wonderful World
But of course. What better way to conclude a record centred around positivity and a vocal so gargling it’s almost grounds for a doctor’s check up, than with a cover of the only man whose vocal would worry a pulmonologist more – Mr Louis Armstrong. What a wonderful world indeed – and what a wonderful record. God bless Nick Knowles, and god bless Biffy Clyro.