Paul Buchanan is chiefly known for being the frontman for The Blue Nile; a group who are known as much for making stunningly atmospheric white soul music as the lengthy gestation periods between albums. Just like his parent band then, Buchanan has taken his time producing his first solo record; his mid-50’s, infact.
Ostensibly, ‘Mid Air’ could be referred to as a quieter version of The Blue Nile. Most of the tracks here feature the base components of Buchanan’s comforting blanket of a voice and his own piano accompaniment. Themes covered are grounded (as one can imagine with titles like ‘Buy A Motor Car’ and ‘Two Children’) but there’s still that air of romanticism and positivity usually captured when Buchanan’s vocal soars so high it seems in perfect harmony with the strings. Very few people can get away with humming away almost absent-mindedly as he does so on ‘A Movie Magazine’ but Buchanan is one of the few to do so and when he can still produce a three track sequence as warm and soulful as ‘Newsroom’, ‘I Remember You’ and ‘Buy A Motor Car’, there are few more pleasant sounds to experience.
Comparisons to The Blue Nile’s sequence of exquisite albums would be a little unfair since ‘Mid Air’ rarely strives for studio perfection but instead opts for simple intimacy. This is an album to sit down to in a comfy chair, whisky in hand and contented but secretly wishing for one last dream to be fulfilled.
The Blue Nile, It’s Immaterial