Key Points:

Rating:

* * * *

Like a chanteuse of old, Nicole

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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.

From

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

.

While

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.


Joanna Hunkin