NADIA REID – ” Preservation “

Posted: April 4, 2017 in ALBUMS, MUSIC
Tags: , ,

The second album – first on Todmorden-based label Basin Rock Records – by the much-acclaimed New Zealand-based singer songwriter Nadia Reid fits the template mastered by the likes of classic singer songwriters 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 a very, very good album, 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. There are hidden depths here. Just when you’re lulled into expecting another slice of heartbreak shot through with hard-worn wisdom, a song (“Richard”) takes in someone pulling out their own teeth and filling a sink full of blood. Words whispered to a loved one turn out to be ”fuck you” rather than the sweet nothings you’d expect in the nearly-solo acoustic setting (“Reach My Destination”).
Same thing applies musically. Just when you’re lulled by the spectral dreaminess of “Te Aro”, the track dissolves into barbed ambient crackle. There are sparsely arranged band cuts – check out the gently soaring “The Arrow and The Aim” for evidence of how much power can be squeezed out of a few base elements .

However, this side of the album tends to shrink next to the near-solo material. It says a lot about Reid’s abilities as a writer and performer that the most skeletal tracks – the drowsy drift of the title track, the hushed “Hanson St Part 2 (A River)” – leave the strongest impression; Preservation hits the hardest when there are zero or very few added ingredients to divert attention from that voice, the melodies and the words.

Nadia Reid performs ‘Preservation’ live in the RNZ Auckland studios for NZ Live.

Nadia Reid performing “Call the Days” live on RNZ.

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