Vocal Yin and Yang
After her critically acclaimed debut Neptune City, Nicole Atkins has followed it up with Mondo Amore. On this album, Nicole has found her yin and yang. Half of her sophomore release has the sultry tunes that she does best while the other half features more upbeat tracks.
Mondo Amore has a nice balance of moods and Nicole Atkins’ vocals are very conducive to slow and eerie songs. Her voice is powerful and crooning with a strong vibrato that captures the emotion nicely. She likes to slide her voice up and down gradually between notes and then wail out a note that grabs the listener.
Nicole’s darker songs on the album are in minor keys and have deep lyrical meanings to match the eerie vibe while haunting guitar chords and tremolo effects add to the ambiance. Intense buildups and releases bring you through the swelling slopes of her tortured soul as they get your head bopping with a solid beat and your ears ringing with electric guitar. She definitely knows how to write a pop song well with catchy hooks and grooves that will get the party raucous.
“This Is For Love” has a catchy, repeated-line chorus showcasing her vocal slide where the music starts and stops to catch you off guard. “Heavy Boots” has a symphonic vibe with piano and acoustic guitar. The eerie background “oohs” will send a chill up your spine.
In Mondo Amore, Nicole Atkins does a good job showing her song writing versatility, but listener beware, the album will give you musical whiplash; it will go from dark and intense to uppity and rockin’ in a snap. Nicole plays the two roles well though and must enjoy the rollercoaster of her musical yin yang.