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Album Review: Listen to Formation Look for the Signs by Nadia Reid
Great, Based on 4 Critics
The Guardian - 80 Based on rating 4/5
It took 24-year-old New Zealander Nadia Reid seven years to write the songs for her first album, because “I wasn’t sure how to begin, or if I had it in me. ” But this doesn’t sound like an album troubled by musical doubt; Reid’s touch is sure throughout, as is her judgment. Her palette isn’t broad, but it’s expertly deployed – on the modal folk of Call the Days, she’s reminiscent of Laura Marling; on Reaching Through, a full band gives her a bit of Teenage Fanclubesque oomph (like Angel Olsen, she’s adept at switching from introspective and soft to loud and rocking); Just to Feel Alive is the kind of indie soul ballad that Matthew E White’s Spacebomb collective specialise in.
Call the Days, the track that heralded this brand new folk-inclined singer-songwriter’s extraordinarily assured debut, suggested an Antipodean Laura Marling, a talented 24-year-old with a preternatural ability to translate internal weather into chords and words. There is so much more here than that. Over the course of nine songs, the melancholic New Zealander makes like Gillian Welch and Mazzy Star as well, in the company of an electrified band, who offset Reid’s dulcet tones exquisitely.
New Zealand songwriter Nadia Reid's debut album begins with the kind of Zen-like certainty that only comes after taking stock. "When I hit the ground in all my glory/ I will know where I have come from," she sings on "Runway", its opening track. Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs finds the 24-year-old Aucklander dissecting a relationship whose end illuminates new layers of failure and hidden motives with each re-examination.
“When I hit the ground in all my glory, I will know where I have come from. In the shadow of a doubt that meets the morning, I have come, and I have faced it.” These are the first lyrics intoned sonorously on this beautiful album by Nadia Reid. Oddly, the pulsing opening track which contains them, 'Runway', shimmers and shines in a way which captivatingly calls to mind the finest work of Josh T Pearson.