You know what? This review should have been published WEEKS ago. The album was released in June, and here we are, in August, and it's still waiting for me to press the "publish" button at some point. But let's look at it this way: while I was keeping it in the oven for you to read eventually, some great news happened on the Nerina front:
- French fans: she was just signed to AZ/Universal, great purveyor of awesome pop in our country (Scissor Sisters, Sia, VV Brown...).
- Her album will be available on French iTunes on August 15
- The video for the second single Turn Me On Again just arrived in my inbox (and on the Internet, for that matter). It's a perfect match to the song: fresh, sunny, summery and warm. Love it!
SO, that album review...
Albums are are a tricky business. It's difficult to give a full body of work some consistence and convey emotion throughout a 45 minute recording. That's probably why so many artists are releasing "EPs" theses days (that and the fact they're far less expensive and time-consuming to produce). So when you get to hear an album that offers as many amazing moments as Nerina Pallot's Year Of The Wolf you understand that the difficulty of being relevant for a full 11 songs doesn't seem to worry her.
After three mostly underrated and underperforming records full of insanely good moments, Nerina, now a mother of both a baby boy and two amazing tracks on Kylie's latest album Aphrodite (the awesome title track and Better Than Today), is back with her fourth LP. And boy does she deliver.
How the first single Put Your Hand Up wasn't a huge mainstream hit is beyond me, and total unfairness. Oh wait, people prefer crap featuring Pitbull and The Black Eyed Peas "singing" about going to the club. This song is the definition of effortlessly good pop with a strong melody and construction, and in this way it's a perfect peek of what's to come.
In fact every song on this record is a little world of its own, and Nerina's voice as well as the personality she's injecting in everyone of them make them important. Usually not keen on down tempo tracks, I found myself totally caught by some of the quieter songs on the record, with This Will Be Our Year being the most addictive. History Boys is heartbreakingly beautiful and its lyrics are just perfectly balanced between cleverness and raw emotion.
Next single Turn Me On Again (out Aug 22, artwork below) is a great choice because it shows a playful and uplifting side to the record that could probably convince more people to look into it further.
Year Of The Wolf is a real breeze of fresh air and a slice of real life that's at times overwhelming and at times sad. It creates moments of real emotion and gave me an impression that's perfectly summarized in a line of I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have : 'it's so good to be alive".