The music on this album has a delicate beauty which is hard, at first, to grasp but reveals itself slowly and gently upon repeated listening. I have owned this album for several months now and only now feel I am starting to fully understand it. It is not difficult to like, if anything it is probably her most accessible album to date, but still nowhere near the main-stream. It has a timeless quality and defies my ability to categorise it.
Each song is crafted with a precision and economy that suggests not a phrase or note has been wasted. Each glitters with its own memorable melody and lyrics which are more akin short poems than the standard singer-song writer fare.
The songs are short and seem to possess a kind of 'internal space' that sucks you into it. A wide variety of acoustic instruments are employed but always with a lightness of touch, adding a subtle variety to each piece.
If you are prepared for something different and can give this some time your efforts are sure to be rewarded.
In some ways it's business as usual on Nina's first album for Fat Cat. Steve Albini's immaculate engineering has been retained, as have regular sidemen Steven Beck, Dylan Willemsa, Jay Bellarose and Jim White. On the other hand, whilst all her albums could be described as sparse, with extremely subtle underpinnings in the playing, on this record studio artifice has been further stripped away so the sound is reminiscent of her smaller live performance settings, led by Nina and her guitar. Some of the songs, too, have featured in her live sets for some time and have been carefully chosen for their coherence in this 34 minute set.
The songs represent a dozen intimate insights into Nina's everyday world laid bare. Shockingly, this time some light has been allowed in. Brad Haunts A Party and Counting Up Your Bones may be familiarly dark, but in between these two songs lies Our Day Trip, describing a perfect day, albeit one which is yet to happen. Dare we admit the possibility that one day it may?
So good that artists this skilled and individual can still find an outlet for their muse in these banal, corporate times.
on 20 September 2007
A beautiful record, my favourite Nina Nastasia record so far. Dark and brooding, an enveloping fog of a record, but with the occasional flash of sunlight, with lyrical snippets of lost childhood etc... As I said, breathtaking - I find myself scared to move in case I miss a beat or a lyric.
on 5 September 2006
Nina Nastasia consistantly makes music that makes you want to dance in the dark with your eyes closed, and the whole world moving in slow motion beside you.
'On Leaving' is different from the others, but in no way Less. It is better, and it is the same, and it is all together extra ordinary, and seamless, flawless, perfect.
From start to finish - it will make you swoon with delight and comfort.
Utter, utter satisfaction.