After embarking on an incredibly ambitious venture of releasing an EP of tracks every month for all of 2014, Nerina Pallot is back with her new album ‘The Sound And The Fury’ that includes some tracks from last year’s offerings with some eclectic, emotionally charged and compelling new songs. ★★★★
The album opens with a rough guitar riff weaving into a drum-led anthem that pulsates and emulates our life blood, our world, our religion, our spirituality and suggests karmic retribution on those that deviate. This sets the tone for the record and its thought-provoking arcs on diverse issues in our modern world. If I Had A Girl is the seditious, bluesy and more honest sister to Beyoncé’s If I Were A Boy where Pallot comes up with some inspired lyrics highlighting the contemptible sexism still raging in our world:
“You gotta be bolder, better, harder faster, don’t take no shit off no lord or master, don’t listen when they say how far you’ve come”
The Road and its rough and edgy, R&B sound wants us to rely on our own perception of right and wrong and reject the noise of the media and other agendas. This could not have been highlighted better or indeed been more topical with the video for this song being filmed in Calais in the migrant camps.
Boy On The Bus is a heartbreaking ballad about wanting to leave the city in despair of distressing events and the aching ‘Handle’ has us struggling to deal with our nefarious world and yearning for a reprieve. One such moment of comfort is the gorgeous Blessed which starts of delightfully like a classic Suzanne Vega cut but then weaves into a beautiful mid-tempo ballad with some magnificent harmonies.
The album closes with the sonic dreamscape and lyrically bittersweet Longest Memory which deals with life, solitude and death and their inextricable links.
Susan Sontag wrote in the 1960s that “we live under continual threat of two equally fearful, but seemingly opposed, destinies: unremitting banality and inconceivable terror. It is fantasy, served out in large rations by the popular arts, which allows most people to cope with these twin specters”. To me this is certainly still very true today and epitomises this glorious, dark, political and resonant album from Nerina Pallot in the sense that her striking collection of songs guides and assists us through some of the atrocities and various –isms endemic in our society. Brilliant.
by Nick Smith | @peripatenic