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Nicole Atkins CD review - see her live at Bowery on February 9

Nicole Atkins CD review - see her live at Bowery on February 9

Nicole Atkins returns to the New York (and world) music scene with her long-awaited second album "Mondo Amore." Opening track "Vultures" presents a lyrical landscape riddled with fear and loathing. "Cry Cry Cry" emerges with a shuffling drum pattern, gospel backing vocal chorus and clean muscle shoals guitar work. "Hotel Plaster" returns to familiar crooner-core territory, as violins add previously unexpected textures. The slow passionate vocal performance is enhanced by a male voice duet, mixed just under Nicole's. "You Come To Me" is a straight ahead rocker, snare drum and reverberated guitar driven. Rising piano notes create an upward motion for Nicole's impressive pipes. "My Baby Don't Lie" recreates a classic down-home jug-band-on-the-back-porch feel that British blues rockers like Led Zepplin loved to emulate. The record then segues into more familiar sonic territory before returning to the original southern fried vibe. "This Is For Love" uses fiddling violins for maximum background effect, cleverly blending them into a country rock format, but it's "You Were The Devil" that delivers Nicole's most sensuous vocal performance on the album: inside a twangy western motif, the subject matter emphasizes the albums overall theme - love, loved - then lost. "War Is Hell" explores this emotional experience further. Nicole's vocals underscore exactly what she does best - the torch song. "Heavy Boots" effectively uses cathedral organ and piano to dramatically highlight this tale of leaden footwear. "The warriors are waiting outside for you on the street. The hungry virgin eyes with scorpions in their smile. They are no match for me." "The Tower" re-imagines Led Zepplin's "Dazed & Confused" minus the extended stoner jam (though live her band at points have gone even there) - there is a tasty guitar solo, though. This may also work as a break-up song. Nicole Atkins plays The Bowery Ballroom on February 9. - Dave Cromwell (photo by Lucia Holm)

Published: February 07, 2011 |

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