Album review: NERINA PALLOT – The Sound And The Fury

NERINA PALLOT - The Sound And The Fury

INgrooves/Idaho Records [Release date 11.09.15]

It’s almost a decade since GRTR!’s last dalliance with the hugely underrated Nerina Pallot.
10 years ago it seemed that with her sophomore release, Fires, she was on the verge of becoming one of Britain’s biggest talents.  10 years on, she’s still on that cusp, but The Sound And The Fury marks the emergence of a new chapter and is undoubtedly her most mature work to date.

After Fires, Pallot returned to Uni, and her two subsequent releases – The Graduate (2009) and Year Of The Wolf (2009) took more of a playful ‘pop’ approach, influenced by the music she was listening to at the time.

And throughout 2014 fans were able to enjoy twelve independently released EPs, a truly impressive 60 track journey that led to The Sound And The Fury – an album that should surely satiate the thirst for a true successor to Fires.

And it seems likes she’s finally found her own ground.  Pallot has always been an enthralling writer and performer, but here those qualities are embroidered with layers of ambience, electronica and ethnicity.  Swooning Beatle-esque strings, an atmospheric beat, and percussive vocal backing permeate ‘There Is A Drum’, and an industrial soundscape and glorious harmonised vocal backing hook underpin the dreamy vocals, delicate and piano lines of ‘Ain’t Got Nothing Left’.

‘Rousseau’ is a throwback to her Fires era and a song that stands up against any of her previous output, while ‘If I Had A Girl’ a marvellously infectious handclap appointed beat, some bluesy guitar lines, and rootsy infused vocal backing.

But ‘Boy On The Bus’ is what Pallot does best – haunting piano and aching vocals – on this form she’s up there with the best in the business.  ‘Spirit Walks’ is another impressive, broody, moody number, ‘Big White House’ showcases her deftness with a soulful groove, and the eastern influences deployed on percussively driven ‘The Road’ an ace in the pack.

The good news is that, taken on the road, the material is just as impressive delivered solo, or with her three piece backing band.  The singer and the song – they’re the two critical elements, and with The Sound And The Fury – her most complete offering to date, Nerina Pallot has them both nailed.

With hindsight, she seems to have always been just behind the curve, never quite getting the appreciation or wider acknowledgement that her work has undoubtedly deserved.  Sadly, the boat to fame and fortune may have sailed, leaving Pallot on the quayside.  But, by rights, The Sound Of Fury should mark her re-emergence as one of Britain’s best singer songwriters.  *****

Review by Pete Whalley

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