Release Date: Feb 8, 2011
Record label: Razor & Tie Music
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Click to Listen to Nicole Atkins' "Vulture" and "Cry, Cry, Cry" Nicole Atkins' second album is an exercise in what you might call brunch blues: Dreamy, vaguely melancholic, thoroughly pleasant. The New Jersey-born singer-songwriter has a forceful and unfussy singing style that brings welcome drama to sleepy Fifties throwbacks like "This Is for Love" and rises to a wail on more agitated, roots-rock-inflected numbers like "Vultures" and "You Come to Me. " Atkins' lyrics describe insatiable wanderlust and the travails of mixing up with no-good dudes — she falls for one on "Cry Cry Cry" and offers others hyperspecific advice on "Hotel Plaster.
That being said, this is a very different album. Neptune City was a bittersweet ode to Atkins’ hometown, shot through with nostalgia and memories of the boyfriends she left behind. Mondo Amore, with its lean, muscled rock songs and scaled-down production, is a kiss-off to the boy she met after relocating to New York. “Our love’s a dark disaster since I turned on the light,” she sings on “Cry Cry Cry,” a barbed pop tune that splits the difference between Motown and garage rock.
Three years after her debut album, Neptune City, Nicole Atkins returns with gripping ferocity on Mondo Amore. From the first track, “Vultures”, Atkins’ toe-tapping, foot-stomping, hip-swaying music moves through your bones. With years to perfect it, every note and beat seems crafted with intention and care, accentuating her equally deliberate words.
The magic of a great record sleeve should never be underestimated. Who could forget Prince astride his Purple dream machine, cockily posing for his disciples whilst the heaving chest of foxy Apollonia awaits in the wings? Or Iggy Pop grinning like he’s freshly lobotomised on the cover of Lust For Life? Or Gaga’s sneering visage drunkenly photoshopped onto the wings of a motorbike by the Office Junior? All covers that dared you to only imagine the mysterious mojo held within. The cover of Nicole Atkins’ Mondo Amore promises such supernatural secrets.
Nicole Atkins‘ 2007 debut record, Neptune City, was a delightful update of 50’s rock and roll and folk tradition that served as a perfect showcase for her extraordinary pipes. Recorded in Sweden with her band, the Sea, many of Neptune‘s songs seemed to explore Atkins’ new life as a rockstar from an innocent, at times naive, standpoint, singing mostly about the singer-songwriter’s New Jersey hometown from which the album took part of its name. While it certainly was a solid first album, Neptune City was hardly as heartfelt and fiery as Atkins’ voice repeatedly made her out to be.
Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer's sister in spirit, Nicole Atkins packs a wallop into Mondo Amore, her follow-up to 2007's more placid Neptune City. The New Jersey-bred singer-guitarist has a church pew voice, which gives opener "Vultures" a sinister edge. Being dropped from her former label, Columbia, and enduring a break-up inform some of the album's blues, but like any woman who knows her worth, she confidently tailors each song to those grand pipes, showing just how much she's matured as a songwriter.
After enduring personal and professional hardships (finding a new label, breaking up with her boyfriend, and the loss of her backing band) , singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins resurfaces with Mondo Amore, the follow-up to her 2007 critically-acclaimed debut, Neptune City. These challenges seem to have provided ample material for Atkins’ sophomore effort, which runs rampant with tales of romantic triumphs and tragedies. No longer harnessed by the boundaries of a major label, Atkins has proudly stated this is the album she has always wanted to make.