Nicole Atkins
Italian Ice


4.0
excellent

Review

by SowingSeason STAFF
June 12th, 2020 | 20 replies


Release Date: 05/29/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A blend of sweet summer sounds.

Nicole Atkins wastes no opportunity with Italian Ice. She assembled a group of her “best musical friends” that includes Jim Sclavunos and David Sherman (of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds), McKenzie Smith (St. Vincent, Midlake), Binky Griptite (The Dap-Kings), and Spooner Oldham/David Hood (Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section). Surrounding herself with help both friendly and talented, she split her songwriting approach open like a ravine, crafting a piece that is all at once retro-60s, symphonic indie, garage rock, and earth-quaking soul pop. Blended together, Italian Ice is every bit the sweet treat that its title suggests.

Through all of the stylistic transformations and shifts that occur dynamically, Atkins’ voice is the star. She effortlessly adapts to each genre attempted, playing every role from soothing songstress to glamorous rock star and sounding the part every time. Her impressive range makes it all possible, but it’s her vocal dexterity and knowing touch that enables it to flow effortlessly. She never sounds out of her wheelhouse, an impressive feat considering the musical terrain covered. Despite the creative range that Italian Ice displays, Nicole is at her best when she’s belting these notes out – as she does on the cautiously optimistic closer ‘In the Splinters’ – where she proclaims, “on any other night I wish the world would end…but not this one.”

Her self-described cast of “misfits” comprising the band are able to keep Italian Ice’s ever-shifting tectonic plates sounding cohesive. Whether it is the jazzy undertones to opener ‘Am Gold’, the tropical sway of ‘Captain’ (featuring Spoon’s Britt Daniel), or the wistful strings and orchestral swell of the penultimate ‘These Old Roses’, the band doesn’t disappoint. Atkins adds to her impressive guest list on ‘Never Going Home Again’, an Americana-styled mid-tempo piano rocker that features Seth Avett (of The Avett Brothers) alongside John Paul White (The Civil Wars) and Erin Rae. It’s truly a fusion of talents on Italian Ice, where the varying accents and swirling styles feel like a snow globe in which Nicole Atkins is at the center.

Italian Ice is Atkins’ boldest and most diverse offering yet. Whether it’s the electronic disco-funk of lead single ‘Domino’ or her confident strides into country, Nicole finds herself avoiding stagnancy while also tackling ambitious musical expansion with aplomb. Perhaps the most impressive thing about this record is that it doesn’t even sound like the genre-spanner that it is because everything is stitched together so seamlessly. It feels effortless – not just by Atkins but somehow by everyone involved as well, as if they’ve all had the same musical dream and were just waiting for the right time to showcase it. Italian Ice is the product of a talented pool of contributors who simultaneously lift Atkins up while still allowing her tremendous vocals to remain the focal point. It’s the strongest album that Nicole has put forth – a gem that hopefully will not go overlooked.



s

Recent reviews by this author
Jaye Jayle PrisynThe Microphones Microphones in 2020
Ruston Kelly HalloweenThomas Azier Love, Disorderly
Zach Bryan ElisabethStyx Paradise Theatre
user ratings (13)
3.8
excellent
related reviews

Neptune City

Comments:Add a Comment 
SowingSeason
Moderator
June 12th 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Just a quick write-up for an overlooked 2020 gem. Been following Atkins for a while now and this is the best thing she's done in my opinion. Came out 2 weeks ago and hasn't gotten much attention here.

Digging: The Microphones - Microphones in 2020

RichRamp
June 12th 2020


17 Comments


Sounds sweet, will give it a go.

Tb1114
June 12th 2020


568 Comments


I needed something that sounded like this in my life right now. Thanks for bringing this to my attention sowing

Trifolium
June 12th 2020


17137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I saw that this came out somewhere but I forgot all about it! Will check soon, like her previous two.

mvdu
June 13th 2020


900 Comments


I find her voice transcendent and it fits summer pretty well. Not sure I like it more than before, but it is just as good. My music budget is tapped out right now. But will likely get it when able.

Brinner
June 13th 2020


42 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Digging this. Thanks for the review SS.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 13th 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Glad people are enjoying this. She's not unknown, but I've always felt like she deserves a little more attention than she gets. She really did right by herself with this album.

bloodshy
June 15th 2020


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hey, thanks for doing a write up for this one! I had a feeling you might like it.. =)

Digging: Synovial - Songs of Silver

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 15th 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ha, thanks bloodshy. It was always on my radar but I could never really find the words. Thanks for reminding me about it.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 15th 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

How good is that closer btw. Love her raspier, shouty vocals in the chorus.

bloodshy
June 15th 2020


1356 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

yeah, the closer is great. the whole album is great though.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 15th 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

yeah this will be another one that slips through the cracks on sput. 6 ratings smh. the 4 avg is spot on though.

FuzzyThoughts
June 18th 2020


63 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

First half of this was so strong for me ("AM Gold", "Domino", and "Forever" are great), but then it drops off a lot. Not that the second half is bad, it just didn't hold my attention like those first few tracks did. I'm really glad I checked it out, though.

Trifolium
June 22nd 2020


17137 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I liked this. Nicely diverse and throwback done right.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 22nd 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Awesome to see more people getting into Nicole Atkins! She's always been enjoyable but this is her best work in my opinion. A great summer record.

Philspektor05
June 26th 2020


2 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Out of all her records this one really speaks to me. Like a good memory I had but I can’t place it. Just makes me feel warm.

SowingSeason
Moderator
June 27th 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Definitely a summer-y throwback vibe. Glad you enjoyed so much.

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 10th 2020


57810 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

some of this good

Digging: HellHammer - Apocalyptic Raids

Lord(e)Po)))ts
July 10th 2020


57810 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

kind of bounces back and forth between really grabbing me and completely losing me

SowingSeason
Moderator
July 31st 2020


35259 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ah, that's a shame. this is such a summer jam



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





FAQ // STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2020 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy