I'm a rocker, first and foremost. If it doesn't contain stupid drumming, pounding bass, shredded guitars and shouty vocals, I'm not usually interested. Naturally, I decided to watch a particular episode of Later With Jools Holland as both Kings of Leon and, more importantly, Metallica, were performing. However, KoL weren't outstanding, and Metallica somewhat subdued. This paved the way for a certain artist to shine brighter than the other artists in the studio that night. As her voice swelled and soared it's way out of my television speakers, it soon became apparent that the sound of Nicole Atkins' music plucked one of my softer heartstrings, so the other day I went out and bought her album, Neptune City
So, what to expect of this album? Nicole's music has been labelled as 'pop noir', which is a pretty fair assessment. Upon first listening, and hearing the opening track, Maybe Tonight
, it is fair to say that this is some darn good pop music. But as we delve deeper into this album, and listen to some songs, the best example being The Way It Is
, it becomes evident that this isn't your standard pop that comprises the majority of the charts. There are plenty of dark overtones, and Nicole's singing carries a lot of sentiment, delivering her lyrics note-by-note, and doing it very well. The album isn't all broody and deep, though. There is a nice balance of the more melancholy and the more upbeat songs; for every War Torn
there is a Brooklyn's on Fire
, meaning that listening to this album is never a long trudge through a guilt trip, and clocking it at exactly 40 minutes long, it never need be.
What are the album's strongest points? One thing that will stand out is Nicole's impressive voice. She doesn't have world-changing vocal prowess, but she suits her musical style very well, swelling and soaring like I said earlier, with power and emotion. Furthermore, each song has it's own little something that will stick itself inside your head. The instrumentation is very good, and supports Nicole well. In addition, there is not really any track that is worth skipping, and none are too similar.
All in all, is this album worth adding to your collection? There should be at least one or two tracks of the ten on here that you may admit to liking should you give it a try. I also find that this album has a great feature of after hearing one song, the listener is wanting to hear another, and then another. As mentioned earlier, there is not one weak song on the CD, and at it's relatively short length, it makes for some great listening whilst in the car.
Even if you couldn't imagine yourself listening to, let alone liking, music of this sort, you should give this album a try anyway. The chances are, you may be, as I was, pleasantly surprised.
Together We're Both Alone
The Way It Is
Brooklyn's On Fire!
Kill The Headlights