Album – New Tricks – Nica Brooke

Posted by admin on August 20th, 2007

I love it when an artist gets in contact and asks to be considered for review. Actually with the advent of mySpace this usually isn’t quite the way it happens. Many people ask to be added to the Indie Launchpad friends list, but I’m actually pretty strict in only allowing people and companies that I have a special relationship with, or bands/artists that have been reviewed. When Nica asked to be submitted to the Indie Launchpad friends list, I checked out her mySpace music and asked her if she’d like to submit her EP for review.

As is sometimes the way, something throws a spanner in the works and while I had a review in the bag for the EP, Nica held the EP back from release, instead to release it as an 11 track album. This however doesn’t happen overnight. Indeed from the submission of the original EP, to the release of this review of the album, I think nearly a year has passed. When it comes to good music though, as was the case with the EP, I’m like a like an elephant that never forgets. I’d drop Nica the occasional email just to check in and then finally she told me the album was ready, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on it.

Nica has that wonderful bluesy, almost bohemian sound that is just a sheer joy to listen to. Of the eleven tracks on the album, there is something quite different on each, while sharing that common vibe. I’ve lost track of the amount of times I’ve stated my love for some female artists and that’s the music I’m talking about here. One of the things that clinches it for me, is an artists ability to caress the soul. Yes I know that sounds unbelievable poncy, but I can’t really define it any better than that. When I listen to Nica’s voice, it’s almost like she’s singing to an audience of one, me. It’s not just the vocals however, it’s the whole package of music and vocals.

Opening with the old standard “My Heart Belongs to Daddy”, it’s surely never sounded so good and so sassy. The production of this and the majority of the album has that real 40’s feel, but with a tinge of modern day magic. This is every evident in the second track “Get Back”. My favorite track on the EP is “Head in the Sand”, with that wondrous hypnotic drum beat. It’s funny, this tracks reminds me of one of those Bob Hope and Bing Crosby “Road to…: movies, where some siren is trying to seduce them with a song. Terrific stuff.

“Old Dog, New Tricks”, has a more jazz flavor and is my least favorite track, but let me put that into context. It’s like asking Bill Gates, which is the least favorite car in his garage. You know they’re all going to be brilliant cars in their own right. The EP rounds off with the tranquil and mysterious “Transitioning”, with some wonderful Flute accompaniment, I think it is.

Conclusion : Yes very good. OK maybe I restrained my self too much there. Absolutely fantastic is more like it. Certainly up there as one of my top 3 female vocalists, so far this year.

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