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Neptune City

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Album Review

Throughout Neptune City, Nicole Atkins takes inspiration from some of rock's most famous women — Stevie Nicks, Chrissie Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux, to name the most prominent. Though only time will tell if she will join the ranks of her inspirations, Atkins shows on this album that she has both the capability and potential. By either happy accident or cunning design, the lush arrangements on Neptune City, which call to mind Rufus Wainwright's Poses or Duke Special's Songs from the Deep Forest, showcase the depth, range, and versatility of Atkins' alto voice, not to mention her songwriting prowess. After years of breathy, lightweight female vocalists, it's a welcome reminder that a woman's voice (in both the physical and literary sense) can have strength and power without losing its appeal.

Even on numbers that employ more traditional pop sensibilities, Atkins is anything but vacuous or banal, and while the arrangements are certainly theatrical, they're not overbearingly so. This is evident from the beginning as the album's opener, "Maybe Tonight," starts off with a shimmering piano arpeggio and works into a song that sounds like a Brill Building or '60s girl group holdover for all the right reasons. The comparisons to musicians and styles of the past continue with "Cool Enough" and "Love Surreal," both of which share the cool, quirky, detached elegance that became the signature of Siouxsie and the Banshees later in their career. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, the bombastic "Brooklyn's on Fire!" calls to mind similar pomp found on fellow Siouxsie Sioux fans My Chemical Romance's The Black Parade, albeit with a more cheerful subject and melody. The album's gem is its title track; the chorus sounds enough like an old Roy Orbison tune that it's almost a shock to find that the composition is an Atkins original. In the end, the lyrics and tune take a backseat to Atkins' vocals, which are highlighted through soft backing instrumentals.

Customer Reviews

Crackin' album!

IMHO the best album so far this year - every track is great (no fillers here), it gets better the more I hear it and Nicole has such an amazing voice. I'm already seriously looking forward to whatever comes next.

Fantastic

This debut album by the foxy Nicole is simply stunning stuff,a trip from start to finish with not a duff track in sight. An album to totally lose yourself in.Deep lyrics,real tuneful melodies and a 'floaty' almost circus-like retro quality. And don't be fooled by the 'yet-another-half-baked solo female outing' a la Duffy,Adele etc etc....this is real quality stuff,beautifully sung and beautifully orchestrated and produced throughout. Nicole is the embodiment of sheer 50's retro soul wrapped up in the modernity of Portishead/James Bond themes. AND...it will break your heart. Beautiful album. (Check her out on youtube too!!)

That voice!

Cracking stuff! A great voice, quirky lyrics and compositions that just don't quite go where they're supposed to, and are all the better for it. I've only bought two other 'new' albums this year, Seldom Seen Kid and Seventh Tree, nothing else really engaged me. My future was clear, I would spend the rest of my life picking clean the bones of past greatness....Nick Drake, Fairport Convention, Mrs. Mills.....Luckily, I fell asleep in front of the TV on Friday night and woke up just before Nicole Atkins played live on Jools Holland. I downloaded the album right after she finished.

Biography

Born: 01 October 1978 in Neptune, NJ

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

With her throaty vibrato and lushly orchestrated pop songs, Nicole Atkins made her debut in 2006, bringing to mind a blend of Roy Orbison, Loretta Lynn, and Jenny Lewis. She was raised in Neptune, New Jersey, and relocated to North Carolina during her late teens to study illustration at UNC Charlotte. After befriending members of the Avett Brothers and logging several years with the alt-country band Los Parasols, Atkins briefly returned to the tri-state area, where a series of open-mike performances...
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Neptune City, Nicole Atkins
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