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NICOLE ATKINS Neptune City Red Ink (2008)

Nicole Atkins

Nicole Atkins has named her debut album after her hometown of Neptune City - a stone's throw for Asbury Park, and on of the small towns dotted along the shores New Jersey that have seen better days. The Boss and Bon Jovi territory.

With a retro Brill Building sound, Nicole has often been compared to Roy Orbison and on tracks like The Way It Is, you can hear it in her vocal phasing. Her vocals also bring Belinda Carlisle in her prime to mind.

But Nicole Atkins has pulled off a really clever trick. She's taken cool facets of some classic 60's moments and melded them into a modern pop as one Robert Williams did so successfully with Millenium.

It's not an easy stunt to pull off. Let's face it the British music scene is top heavy with female artists delivering a retro sound - Duffy, Winehouse and innumerable others. But where Atkins scores a march is in taking some old ingredients and not trying to recreate a new old, but instead delivering something modern and fresh. In much the same way Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis pulled it off with the Watson Twins on Rabbit Fur Coat.

And it works - wonderfully. So forget your Duffies and Winehouses, reach for some originality. Reach for Nicole Atkins.


Review by Pete Whalley

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***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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