New Zealander Nadia Reid's debut Listen To Formation, Look For The Signs was a gorgeous, introspective affair that blindsided many a critic. Late night/early morning tales of heartache and regret crafted over seven years; her effortlessly warm vocals not only soft-soaped the bitter pills she dispensed, but belied her early twentysomething years. It was Laura Marling, it was Mazzy Star, it was Kiwi alt.folk for the brokenhearted.
E ighteen months on from Nadia Reid's 2015 debut, Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs, the 25-year-old New Zealander has delicately but decidedly upped the ante. Her ethereal, pensive vocals are cast against plangent folk-guitar shapes, but there is more dirt under her nails. The songs deal with empowerment through determination in the aftermath of love and loss, often in no uncertain terms.
Nadia Reid's debut record arrived late in 2015, and despite being warmly received it did seem to suffer slightly from the swathe of best-of lists that tend to dominate the music press at the end of the year. Nevertheless, it was an excellent debut from the then 24-year-old, especially given that some of the songs on the record were written by Reid at a remarkably young age. Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs displayed an impressively assured approach to the kind of new folk that artists like Laura Marling have had such success with.
The second album - first on Todmorden-based label Basin Rock - by much-acclaimed New Zealand-based Nadia Reid fits the template mastered by the likes of Neil Young and Joni Mitchell light years ago perfectly; the level of naked yearning and blue feeling evident on tracks such as "Ain't Got You" is pretty much off the scale.
Preservation is also very, very good, certainly strong and distinctive enough to rise far above the myriad clichés we have by now come to associate with songwriting as a confessional and a personal inventory.
Theme-wise, time spent away from home, lost opportunities and lingering regret mixed with resilience dominate.
The sophomore album from New Zealand's Nadia Reid is a hushed recording— akin to an intimate conversation over coffee on a lazy Sunday morning. The majority of the songs on Preservation are languid reflections on relationships and the self, brushed with religious imagery and steeped in sadness. On "Ain't Got You," Reid sings of unshakeable loneliness while "Reach My Destination" is about the difficulty of choice and finding happiness in your decisions.