Rating: * * * *
Like a chanteuse of old, Nicole
Atkins' voice swoops and soars in and out of registers with seamless
ease. Full of orchestral flourishes, Neptune City could be a modern remastering of a classic record. Only it is wholly original.
60s girl groups to touches of Blondie, The New Jersey-born singer
infuses all her music with elements of the surreal, drawing inspiration
from film-maker David Lynch.
The record is full of Vaudevillian tracks that would be perfect for any number of films. The deep, noir tones of The Way It Is beg to be used on a Tarantino soundtrack, while the title track Neptune City has the same haunting-yet-fantastical quality of Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands.
Atkins is at her best playing the maudlin chanteuse, she proves she
still has that notorious New Jersey spunk on the rowdy Brooklyn's On
Fire!, complete with a whining electric guitar accompaniment that could
have been lifted straight from a Queen track.
Love Surreal and Party's Over hear the influence of producer Tore Johnson - who produced the Cardigans - enter the record, while the bell tolls of Cool Enough and brass section of Kill the Headlights add even more colour to the multi-layered album.
Like an intricate oil painting, Neptune City is a collection of curiosities, revealing a new intrigue with every listen.
By Joanna Hunkin Email Joanna