5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This is (not the best of) Stina Nordenstam,
This review is from: This Is Stina Nordenstam (Audio CD)
The title Stina Nordenstam’s fifth album suggests her record company hope this will serve as an introduction to her work. While collaborating with Suede’s Brett Anderson on two tracks indicates, perhaps, that the singer herself wishes to access the niche in the market for those who like singers with annoying voices. Stina is after all, an acquired taste – like Alison Shaw of the Cranes she is best (but not adequately) described as a whispering Bjork on helium.
In many respects this album is a good indication of what to expect from her back catalogue as a whole. It steers a neat path between the gentle harmonies and delicate melancholy of her best album “And she closed her eyes” and the harsher industrial sounds that weren’t altogether successful on the follow up “Dynamite.”
And although, as a combination of better and worse it inevitably transpires that this particular album is not a universal success, and is therefore unlikely to open the floodgates to legions of new fans, it is still a cut above most releases and contains several moments of rare beauty.
Opening track “Everyone Else in the World” is uncharacteristically romantic but with its line of “you get what you want, when you just want what you get,” it is certainly not over sentimental. “So Lee” is Stina by numbers but the gloomy “Stations” and “Clothe Yourself For The Wind” are Nordenstam at her best. The latter particularly is beautifully understated; distorted vocals mouthed over minimalist keyboard. It is what spines and shivers were made for.
The two tracks with Brett are slightly disappointing. “Transurfing” is a sleazy trawl through “concrete graves” that's poor enough to be on Head Music while “Keen Yellow Planet” is more pleasing but not as special as a duet between these two haunting singers should be. In fact it is left to the very last track for Brett’s influence to really impose itself. Perhaps they hoped that the similarities between the supposedly Stina penned “Sharon and Hope” and the Suede b-side “The sounds of the streets” wouldn’t be so apparent. They were wrong but the saving grace is that this at least works better than the original.
So like the title says, this is Stina Nordenstam, and as an introduction to her it works well. Crucially however it is not the best of Stina Nordenstam. For that, I suggest you track down “And she closed her eyes” which remains possibly the most distinctive and beautifully fragile album of recent years.