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Album Review:

NADINE

oh my

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words by tom johnson

There’s always space for big art; loud, boisterous, jubilant pieces that demand their space in the spotlight, their appeal obvious and declared from the outset. And so too, smaller, delicate pieces will always have a place on the mantle, sometimes, however, they take a little more time to embed themselves, a little extra investment in their fibre. Give NADINE’s new LP a cursory spin and you’ll undoubtedly find something to admire, its measured persuasion, ripples of inspired detail, enough to bring a glimpse of golden light to even the dullest of days.

Far more than simple background music – though wonderfully adept it is as such a thing – ‘oh my‘ comes alive when the more you know its there, when you look not just at the tempting surface but at the swell beneath. The album’s introduction talks of the songs here as ones that “resonate in the gaps, the space between” and while that descriptor has become somewhat overused, here it makes perfect sense. Crafted from the subjective, the intangible, the songs exist better in that role too, like a soundtrack to things we pine for while knowing they’ll never materialise.

The whole thing is also effortlessly cool in places. Cool, too, has become somewhat uncool in superlative terms, but there’s an elegance, a groove here that lends even greater sense of allurement and it feels beautifully natural and unrehearsed. These songs, the little moments in them, exist and flourish in their own colourful new world, one just a little different to our own home comforts, like that first step out in to the busy streets of a holiday town, with all the quiet majesty of newness, textural and perceived.

A collaboration between Nadia Hulett (part of the Phantom Posse collective) and Julian Fader and Carlos Hernandez of GFP-faves Ava Luna, the ‘oh my’ LP bristles with measured magnetism, but magnetism all the same, fading between ebullient pop hooks and experimental dives in to the ether, finding life somewhere in between both of those parameters. It’s perhaps the previously-released Ultra Pink that best surmises such a thing, a gem of a pop song that has a wonderfully infectious bounce in its most focused moments, before the whole thing is suddenly wrapped up in grey clouds for the final chapter, all swirling, billowing noise for a few fleeting moments, just long enough to shift the whole mood.

One of the closest cluster of stars to us, one that’s visible all over the world, is called Pleiades, and it contains over a thousand stars with only six visible to the naked eye from Earth. What’s most pleasing about it is the way in which it shines. Flickering away in a tiny patch of sky, the cluster appears distinctly more bright in the periphery, meaning you have to look just away from it to really appreciate its full display. There’s something of that here, something about the cadence of the voice, the composure of the music, that makes Nadine all the more interesting, invigorating even, by looking just past it, by letting it gleam in the periphery of the surrounding dark, not as background music but as a little mystery of its own, visible and distinct and always alluringly out of reach.

The album is out now, via Father/Daughter and Memphis Industries; you can stream it right here:

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