Nashville based multi-instrumentalist, Nick Noon, releases his latest single, Costumes, today (October 21 2022) and for fans of accessible progressive rock, this may well just be for you.

Costumes fades in with a section of female spoken word (French) over bass, used as a solo instrument and a distant cello holding up the low end. A superb 16 beat tambourine fills the sound and pans from left to right; a nice touch which drew us in straight away.

When Noon’s vocals come in they are thick, warm and deep. Reminding us a little at this stage of Nick Cave, perhaps. Later in the song, we drew comparisons to Neil Hannon (Divine Comedy) – in fact, there are parts of the track that have a definite Divine Comedy feel to them.

The thing that attracted us to this track is that, despite being just over 5 minutes, Noon has made great use of different sections to maintain the listeners interest. Returning to the chorus to reel the listener back in to something familiar, Noon expertly offers up sections with full horn section, to strings and then drops back to just acoustic guitar. We absolutely loved how the full band sound comes in and out here. The dynamic landscape of the arrangement has been very well considered.

We must draw attention to the accompanying video of Costumes. Looking like a highly professional, high budget movie, the camera moves through scenes of a group of people dancing around in (what looks like) Edwardian costumes against a very authentic background.

Costumes has a real Electric Light Orchestra feel to it (think Mr. Blue Sky). A huge production, slightly glam rock feel track with elements of prog rock. The nod towards prog rock is enough to make the track feel a touch 70s/80s but not so much that it becomes inaccessible to the regular listener (as can often happen with the more intense prog rock).

From a production perspective, we feel that a boost around 45-50Hz would bring out the thump of the kick a little more. The acoustic guitar at the 1:05 mark is resonating on the Bb (233Hz) so a careful surgical EQ cut here would help reduce that peaking tone. A boost around 320Hz would fill a gap in that area, making the track sound warmer and fuller. A large and wide boost, maybe as much as 7dB across the highs centred around 12kHz would add a lot of extra brightness to the track overall, bringing out certain aspects of the percussion and brass instruments particularly. Careful not to boost the sibilance in the vocals too much though (around 5.5kHz).

Nick Noon’s, Costumes, is a five minute track which will definitely appeal to fans of the likes of Elton John, ELO and Alan Parsons. We’re looking forward to hearing more from this Nashville based multi-instrumentalist and songwriter.