Although there have been bass, guitar and keys on past standouts like Smokers Delight and Carboot Soul, Feelin Good has even more bells and whistles: it's built from the bottom up, with real musicians playing real instruments, and in places is genuinely orchestral. Trumpets, drums, vocals, violins, flutes, saxophones and cellos make for a much fuller, richer and more authentic sound than ever before. Of course, for such a student of vinyl cultures like dub, funk and soul, it's no wonder every track comes coated in humid crackles and aged imperfections, all of which add to the earthiness of the experience.
There's proper songwriting on offer here, too, with much of it moving away from the hip-hop structures of Evelyn's last few albums. Instead, Feelin Good drifts though Afro-Cuban shuffles on "Be, I Do," squelchy reggae on "Now Is The Time" and deconstructed Balearic bliss on "There 4U." There are also more energetic tracks, like the ramshackle loop-funk of "Tapestry," and the wonky, fat-bottomed house swagger of "Eye (Can't See)."
But it's at his haziest and most vulnerable that Nightmares On Wax is most definitive. Opener "So We Are Here" is as joyous as the first days of spring, and yet it's also tinged with the sadness of a departing love. "Master Plan" is so loveably louche you feel it might collapse right into the sofa. With such worldly influences and after so long in the game, many other artists might be turning in commercial chill-out by now. But, thankfully, Nightmares On Wax is enjoying himself far too much for that.