30 April 2013

Erica Nockalls - Imminent Room

Reviewing this album is sort of a joy/torture moment in some ways.  The joy is getting to talk about an album I have been excited about hearing for a long time.  The torture is I have befriended the artist on Facebook and when I put this up I will at least be honest - and I always get this sort of thing when reviewing people I have seen live and met (it is like telling your friend's what you think of their shoes - something I also find hard to do).  But I will be brave, I will be brave.  This is the debut of Erica Nockalls, current violinist in The Wonder Stuff and she has also played with Fink, The Proclaimers (yes, the 5,000 miles band) and The Ting Tings.  This album was co-produced by Erica with George Taylor and features guest spots from Jeff Wayne of Carcass, as well as Wayne Hussey and Mark Geminin Thwaite of The Mission.  Now when some people hear the name The Wonder Stuff, I bet half of you reading this have either got 'Size of A Cow' or Dizzy' in your head.  But this is now what you should be doing, as this is quite far away from that relam of music.

Musically the sound is a lot darker, more brooding than Erica's day job and a wonderful mix of rock, the more bass sound of Portishead, and the poptastic sensibilities of Ladyhawke.  The thing I love about this album is that it does not just settle on one style of music - "Lover 51" sounds nothing like "I Am Me, This Is Now" but it could not have been done by anyone else correctly in some way.  Even the wonderful little strange opening of “Neon Crucifix” cannot stop this album being anything other than fantastic.  The album is a fluid stream of moments and songs that are just mesmerising.  When I first heard that this album was coming I was expecting a lot of tracks like "It's Killer, Darling" - with an emphasis on the violin, what with it being Erica's main instrument (it is also quite possibly one of my favourite off the album).  However, it is more than that type of album.  It is a like a living person - there is more than one side to it and it does not rest on one facet of the person.

Usually at this point I try to balance the review with something I did not like about the album, mainly so I do not seem like a massive fan boy.  However on this occasion the only thing I would like to say is that I wish the album was longer, and then there would be more music to enjoy.  But this is just a personal thing for me - from the opening of "Manikin" to the gentle ending of "Goodbye Spider", this is a really good album which I have no problem recommending to any who is blessed with the gift of hearing.  It is much better than the Lana Del Ray's of the world, and the injustice is that it will receive not even a 10th of the press when it deserves it more. So not a pain at all, just joy from the beginning to the end.

8.5 out of ten - Oh, now you have my attention and maybe my money, time and heart

You can purchase from Amazon here

You can visit Erica's website here

You can purchase directly from Erica's website here

You can listen to the album on Spotify here

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