Vince Watson, It’s Not Over

[Planet E]

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After more than 20 years in the biz, you could forgive Vince Watson if he started to run out of steam. After all, his club-oriented work has rarely left the sleek, melodic boundaries he established with early records like the popular Mystical Rhythm EP. As his latest missive faithfully advises, though, It’s Not Over. Somehow, the Scotsman frequently seems able to make new records even more lush and elegantly intricate than their predecessors. And really, in this domain, few names can match him (Kirk Degiorgio, perhaps). It’s clear he has plenty more to say.

The title track rests on a knife-edge between overblown sentimentality and genuine poignancy. As in the past, though, Watson keeps it on the right side — just — evoking powerful nostalgia with a long, lazy chord progression and simple beat. Music writers sometimes talk about getting “lost” in a song, and “It’s Not Over” is a prime example — it’s awfully hard to tell where the melody begins and ends, and all that’s left to do is surrender to its gentle peaks and troughs. “Freq” is more upbeat, employing a niggling, similarly infinite chord sequence to shake off the nostalgia, and push to a patient crescendo. Compared to some past work, both sides are relatively simple in this respect, each featuring just one main motif. With soundtracks and more traditionally musical projects occupying more and more of Watson’s time, it seems like perhaps he’s keen to strip down his club work a bit — consciously or unconsciously. While this still makes for some very pleasant tracks, It’s Not Over can’t quite match the multi-layered splendor of tunes like 2011’s “Atom,” or 2012’s “Love in F Minor.”

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