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Slow Phaser

Nicole Atkins

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Album Review

For her third LP, American pop chanteuse Nicole Atkins returned to the Nordic coastal city of Malmö, Sweden where she and her then band the Sea recorded their first album Neptune City in 2006. At that time, Atkins, flush with a new contract from Columbia and full of commercial promise, laid down a darkly romantic set of torchy songs written about her hometown back in New Jersey. Seven years later, an ultimately wiser and more world-weary artist made a second Scandinavian sojourn to reconnect with producer Tore Johansson and assemble the shadowy and richly detailed Slow Phaser. If Neptune City was a nostalgic tribute and 2011's Mondo Amore was an edgy post-breakup album, then Slow Phaser seems to be the unthemed album of a more mature songwriter letting her muse carry her any which way. There is an uptempo, almost disco-like groove on tracks like the opener "Who Killed the Moonlight?" and the single "Girl You Look Amazing" which bring a sense of fun yet still retain the singer's noir-ish tendencies. Johansson's production places an emphasis on the band's bottom end with rich, deep basslines, and rocksteady drums like on the catchy "Cool People" and pulsing "Red Ropes." Paired with a bevy of analog synths and other experimental affectations, this sultry, rhythm-heavy style is a great match for Atkins' smoky vocals and dishy delivery on "The Worst Hangover," with its soulful backing vocals and proggy arrangement. On the wry, folky "Sin Song," she sings a quirky call and response with the rest of the band in a sort of anti-gospel rave-up which then leads into the delicate and sublime closer "Above as Below." Atkins has come a long way since her debut and without the distractions of a major label or a major break-up, she seems to be in the driver's seat and completely in control of her destiny, delivering her most artistic and confident album to date.

Customer Reviews

Her Best Yet

Let's just get this out of the way first: Nicole Atkins has one of the most amazing and strong voices in music today. Hands down. No need to try to counter that statement. You won't win the argument. She just does. It's a shame more people aren't familiar with her music. She really deserves to be heard. That being said, I really didn't expect to go come away from her new album thinking it was her best effort yet. But it is. This is the best she's ever sounded on record. The song writing and selection compliments her voice perfectly. She's really hitting on all cylinders here. Do your favor pick this album up. You'll be glad you did.

Absolutely Amazing

Nicole is an amazingly talented songwriter and performer!! slow phaser is so totally excellent! Alternative feels with a disco/Roy Orbison twist!

Love this album

…and listening to it over and over. If nothing else, give “Who Kill the Moonlight” a spin and you’ll understand why!

Biography

Born: October 1, 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...
Full Bio
Slow Phaser, Nicole Atkins
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