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Nedelle – More Nancy Sinatra than Kathleen Hanna

Posted by April 22nd, 2005 No Comments »

NedelleFrom The Lion’s Mouth
Kill Rock Stars Records
By Aaron Burkhalter

One might wonder what a songwriter like Nedelle is doing with an outfit like Kill Rock Stars. With her influences of jazz, pop, bossa nova and soul, she has more Nancy Sinatra running through her blood than Kathleen Hannah, and presents an adulation for ’60s pop unrivaled even by the more Elliott Smith end of the KRS catalog. But Kill Rock Stars has been broadening its horizons for the past several years with acts like the Decemberists and Jeff Hanson tipping their reputation for offering a roster of bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile.

Nedelle is not underground as a rock ’n’ roll philosophy, but because her best influences have become relatively obscure, save for a few records your parents still own. Her style and vocals draw from the lost art of real studied songwriting unheard of in today’s music scene, let alone her local once-punk record label Kill Rock Stars.

NedelleFrom The Lion’s Mouth
Kill Rock Stars Records
By Aaron Burkhalter

One might wonder what a songwriter like Nedelle is doing with an outfit like Kill Rock Stars. With her influences of jazz, pop, bossa nova and soul, she has more Nancy Sinatra running through her blood than Kathleen Hannah, and presents an adulation for ’60s pop unrivaled even by the more Elliott Smith end of the KRS catalog. But Kill Rock Stars has been broadening its horizons for the past several years with acts like the Decemberists and Jeff Hanson tipping their reputation for offering a roster of bands like Bikini Kill and Bratmobile.

Nedelle is not underground as a rock ’n’ roll philosophy, but because her best influences have become relatively obscure, save for a few records your parents still own. Her style and vocals draw from the lost art of real studied songwriting unheard of in today’s music scene, let alone her local once-punk record label Kill Rock Stars.

Although her influences lend themselves to larger productions, From The Lion’sMouth is simple, featuring Nedelle’s songwriting largely over arrangement. Her music rarely explodes, and the orchestration backing this music ranges from a solo trombone or cello faintly in the background to no more than a trio of strings. Her soft voice and tame fingerpicking gives her a Velvet Underground charm drawing from the legacies of Nico and Maureen Tucker.

The bulk of the album features simple guitar patterns with no more ornamentation than incredibly sparse strings and Nedelle’s self harmonizing barber-shop-style ooo’s and aah’s. The mild orchestration suits this music well; a faint violin, a string trio or a muted trombone, though adding little more than a harmonizing accompaniment, give depth to songs that would otherwise leave the album bland and homogenous.

As sweet as the Nedelle’s music is, the rocking rhythm of “Good Grief” and “Oh No” and the soulful organ in “Begin to Breathe” are welcome deviations from the norm. Nedelle’s music is quiet enough to knock the listener out completely, demanding the occasional departure into more toe-tapping beats.

The only weakness From The Lion’s Mouth presents is the slight feeling it is incomplete. The bulk of the album, like many of the individual songs, starts on an idea without fully exploring it. Many of the songs suffer from a nice chorus and verse that don’t earn their keep. The album lacks a small piece to keep the listener turning the pages of Nedelle’s story. Most of the individual songs resemble the album with a more tempered flow lacking any propelling climax or resolution. – (7/10)


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