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Nerina Pallot - When The Morning Stars Sang Together EP (Review)

Nerina Pallot, When The Morning Stars Sang Together

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4.5 out of 5

NERINA Pallot is nothing if not ambitious. Having decided against releasing an album (due to the dwindling sales of the LP format), she instead resolved to release 12 EPs throughout 2014.

The third of these, When The Morning Stars Sang Together, is a fantastic showcase of why she’s such a formidable talent (not to mention a Brit and Ivor Novello Award nominated artist).

Comprised of five tracks totalling over 21 minutes, this is eclectic, stylish and really entertaining.

What’s more, it’s lyrically ambitious, having been inspired by William Blake.

Nerina explains “When I embarked on this whole EP a month thing, I suspected that, being British, I would start writing about the weather at some point. OK, so this isn’t the weather channel EP but I spent most of February dreaming of epic floods, tsunamis, trying to transport two Jack Russells, a rabbit and small child with only a laundry basket for a vehicle; all that kind of stuff.

“One night I woke up in a cold sweat after a particularly bad Armageddon dream, went downstairs and stood in my back garden and was filled with the kind of joy that you either need to be five years old or on hallucinogens to experience. I was thinking about this painting I really love by William Blake, called When The Morning Stars Sang Together and how it’s a depiction of one of those rare moments in the Bible when peeps are looking pretty happy and nobody is being cast off into eternal damnation. (See, as a very lapsed Catholic, I always take end-of-the-world dreams really, really personally).

“So, I wrote from that. The other songs on the EP are quite miserable though; that’s sort of my default setting. I think songwriters as a whole are a breed who would be unhappy being too happy, but I always throw one cheery song onto an EP to lull the listener into a false sense of security.”

Opening track That’s Really Something is, indeed, the brightest track on the EP, kick-starting proceedings amid some breezy guitar licks, lush electronics and a happy-go-lucky disposition from Pallot that takes an awe-struck look at the world and declares “that’s really something, oh we’re living now”.

The first highlight, however, comes in the slow-building Ain’t Got Nothing Left, which finds Pallot in admittedly more brooding fashion (including a bluesy backing harmony) and declaring she ain’t got nothing left. The drum shuffle on this one, coupled with the tantalising piano arrangements, creates a really striking song.

No Harm Done changes tone yet again and finds Pallot distorting her vocals a little over a kick-ass beat and a sense of defiance that declares “and now you’re really living ‘cos you know what it’s like to feel pain”. Again, it drops an insistent beat and a really sassy vocal that’s utterly endearing and somehow invigorating in spite of its more downbeat lyricism.

Nervous, meanwhile, layers moody piano chords with brooding humming and a sense of the cinematic (you can imagine this dropping on some James Bond film).

The EP ends with the terrifically bluesy Sorriest MF in Town (and that’s mother-f**ker), a downbeat slice of fun that finds Pallot purring (or lamenting) about her lot in life over brooding piano and blues guitar. It’s fantastically moody and a really strong finish.

But then Pallot is a class act from start to finish and if all the EPs this year come close to the quality of this one, then we’re in for a special collection of work.

Download picks: Ain’t Got Nothing Left, Sorriest MF in Town, Nervous, No Harm Done

Track listing:

  1. That’s Really Something
  2. Ain’t Got Nothing Left
  3. No Harm Done
  4. Nervous
  5. Sorriest MF in Town