By Nerina Pallot
Having toured with many large acts including James Blunt, Sheryl Crow and Joseph Arthur, Pallot's album 'Fires' is sure to be purchased primarily by fans she has won over with stunning live performances, myself included. The India-born talentress is as endearing in production as she is on stage, presenting a dynamic album that smiles delightfully out of the speakers.
The opening 'Damascus' is a mid-tempo warm up track that demonstrates Pallot's wide-ranging vocal talents: from growling alto to wistful soprano. In the gently melancholic second track 'Sophia', these vocals are beautifully complimented by bare piano and a poignant set of poetically creative lyrics.
But the album really kicks in after this, with more powerful tracks 'Idaho' and 'Geek in Love'. A full band accompanies soaring choruses, demonstrating that Pallot's strength lies in energy brimming rock-pop. Though not as well produced as the artist's debut single 'Everybody's gone to war', 'Idaho' is the highlight of the album in terms of ingenuity and epical musicality.
The central tracks of the album embrace a mellow ambience, as 'Nickindia' and 'Mr King' swim through the mind without demanding much of your attention. Pallot's deep whispers and lilting high notes add to a dream like quality, deeming these tracks the perfect excuse for floating about pretending you're stuck in slow motion.
Nerina Pallot's debut single is track number seven. The peace-lovers' anthem 'Everybody's gone to war' contains an excitement building bridge followed by a wind down the window and turn up the stereo chorus that's bound to be featuring on plenty of summer soundtracks this year.
Following another upbeat track, 'Learning to Breathe', 'Heart Attack' provides some dark relief with low piano chords and powerful vocals creating a heavier, rockier sound. 'Good People' is an uplifting and cheerful end to the album. Pallot can be forgiven for the cop-out lyrics "do do do do, do do do-do do do" and "mm-hmm hmm", considering the thoughtful reflections pervading the rest of 'Fires', and the fade out ending of this song lends itself well to having the album on repeat and listening to the whole thing over again.
'Fires' comes highly recommended to fans of the current rock-pop solo women's movement. But rather than following in the footsteps of artists such as KT Tunstall, Nerina Pallot gives the impression of having originally chosen this style and suddenly emerging after years spent refining it. Rather than jumping on it, 'Fires' signifies Pallot's hijacking of the bandwagon, and I wouldn't be surprised if she steers it straight through the gates of success.