'Hands up? Who's heard of Nerina Pallot?' No prizes for guessing, but I hadn't a clue when asked the question at the reviewers meeting. It was the candy-pink plastic packaging with 60s style lettering that attracted me and was the deciding factor in convincing me to review this CD.
Nerina Pallot, for those who aren't in the know, is a Brixton-based, classically-trained, piano-playing vocalist. Written from the point of view of an dreamy, outsider, Miss Pallot shares her observations on love, life and laughter in a similar vein to the angst-ridden, gutsier Alanis Morissette.
Opening with the the promising, dark early-Garbage/ Alanis-style chant, (with forceful, regular drum beats, effective delivery), the opening track "If I Know You' turns into a dippy of Songs of Praise cum Shania Twain dirge with swooning violins giving an overall sonar impression of arms swaying palm tree style on a nightime, sandy beach.
Radio-friendly first single, Patience flows on next. With sullied, crisp, incisive lyrics, this simple guitar-led track is easily the best track on the album. As well as being the least irritating track, due to its non-reliance on pianoforte trills, Nerina's voice shines most distinctively. Strong, but sweet, her range and styles are displayed in this extremely likeable effort.
The shifting drum beat of and piano chords of 'Someday Soon' help to convey the overall optimistic feeling of the album to great effect and provide a flattering backing to this slow, funky burner of a track.
Sheryl Crow's blues-esque guitars and vocal style are used to great warming effect to the likeable, strum-along 'Watch Out Billie'. 'Daily Bread', sounds like a Dixie-Chick slow, country, guitar track which improves greatly on listening due to the gritty guitar solo (not provided courtesy of Nerina).
From this point on, N.Pallot's vocals are squeakily high-pitched and the lush, piano-reliant treatments tend to let the songs down. When she's spitting out self-disgust at her taste in men, she still manages to make a line like "I go for the suckers, the mean motherf-ers" ('Jump'), sound like a gambol through a meadow on a warm summer's evening. It's when Nerina uninvitedly, shares her observations on life and the world that the album falls flat, as displayed in "God" and the title track.
This is admittedly an album of two halves, the opening one far superior to the dreary, melodic filler at the end.
7Sajini Wijetilleka's Score