South London singer's neurotic debut
It might feel like the only women making pop these days have former careers as Spice Girls, but thankfully, the reality is less depressing. After Nelly Furtado’s endearing self-assurance comes her dreamy, piano-playing counterpart, Brixton-based singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot.
Nerina’s voice wavers between angelic and irritating; disconcertingly high-pitched, it nevertheless gives her an edge that fluffier females lack. In fact, Nerina’s more classically-trained musician than MTV fodder, so, while the piano’s never far away, there are few other distractions from that spectacular voice.
Debut radio-friendly single ‘Patience’ and its sullied crispness is typical, while a bongo-laced ‘Very Good Sir’ tells of an ex who kept cocaine in his bathroom cabinet. Then, on the bittersweet ‘Someday Soon’, there’s the boyfriend who dumped her by leaving her worldly possessions, packed, in the hall.
It’s when Nerina shares her observations on life and the world that the whole thing falls flat. They bring an enforced worthiness that this would be better off without (‘God’, for instance, is just god-awful). Still, if you’re missing the loopy warbles of Tori Amos,
Nerina Pallot should ease the symptoms.