I am supremely underqualified to talk about New Jersey's Nicole Atkins, a sultry songstress whose new album 'Neptune City' is a throwback to years gone by. My lack of knowledge in this area leads me to compare her renaissance effort to the recent stylings of Amy Winehouse and Duffy. But with credibility and without the crack. Well, hopefully.
Critically acclaimed in her native land of America, she's also performed on such shows as The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson and Letterman*. As well as an American Express ad. But I guess that might take away from her credibility slightly. Or have people stopped caring about that "selling out" nonsense? Hopefully.
So what's the fuss all about? Well, she's produced a beautiful album. Apparently, a couple of her influences are Danny Elfman (famous score composer) and David Lynch (celebrated film director), which isn't surprising as her music really reflects a cinematic style.
Nicole Atkins has a powerful, striking voice which is remarkably captivating. Underlying her accomplished vocals are grandiose orchestral arrangements as well as the more conventional "pop" setup. Surprisingly I found the poppier tracks (e.g recent single 'Maybe Tonight' and album closer 'Party's Over') inferior to the more understated, slow burners like 'Together We're Both Alone'.
Fans of Cass Elliot, Rufus Wainwright and Roy Orbison should eat this up. Even people who have no interest in the aforementioned may be pleasantly surprised with their enjoyment of Ms Atkins' work. I know I was.
NICOLE ATKINS - PARTY'S OVER//MIRROR
NICOLE ATKINS - TOGETHER WE'RE BOTH ALONE//MIRROR
'Neptune City' is out today. Buy at [Play]/[HMV] for £7.99
*Letterman must really fancy her. He holds her hand for a lifetime at the end of [this Youtube vid]. It's like being in a primary school playground again. Except this is on national television and a bit wrong.