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  • Fires
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Format: Audio CD|Change
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on 19 May 2006
It's great to discover someone before they're famous. I bought this album on its first release in 2005, mostly because I thought her first album (Dear Frustrated Superstar) showed such great potential, even if it was a bit rough around the edges.

And I was not disappointed. From the first few bars of 'Everybody's Going To War' I was hooked. Nerina has a unique voice, almost like a musical instrument itself. Her songs as as gorgeous as ever and the production on this album has really stepped up. But what really shines are her wonderful lyrics, eminently quotable. Every single word is perfect in its rightness, or as she puts it: "Passion and silence. Every word, every line a measure: it's the science of the soul." ('Sophia')

Highlights include: the manic-depressive roadtrip that is 'Idaho' (also the name of Nerina's record label, on which Fires was first produced); 'Mr King', her nostalgic look-back at her first job with a record company, detailing in a few words how things change when you set out on your own; the fabulous 'Geek Love', an affair between two people who know they're losers; the incredible beauty of 'Sophia', her love song to the poet William Blake, a song so perfect it hurts; and the marvellously uplifting 'Learning to Breathe'.

Well, those are the highlights. The rest of the album is just good, those are brilliant. I could listen to this album for hours--and often do.
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on 26 February 2007
I was hesitant to actually buy this album at first. After hearing Everybodys gone to war on the radio countless times, i thought she would be a one-hit wonder. Boy was i wrong. I brought the album after the fantastic single Sophia was released, and i have fallen in love with it. From the roaring wild strings and lonelyness of Idaho, to the American teenager computer nerd from Geek Love, to the Indian Subcontinent of Nikindia. All of it is FANTASTIC. Her voice is a somewhat manic mash-up of Tori Amos, Joni Mitchell, KT Tunstall, Sheyrl Crow and Alanis Morisette with a touch of Dido thrown in for good measure, resulting in the quirky and amazing songs on this album.

Another thing that struck me about Nerina wasn't just her amazing lush voice, but also her musical knowledge. Unlike most pop songs that thrive on 4-4 beats, she is very experimental and many of the songs have 3-4 or 6-8 beats, making them song different and making the whole musical voyage of her album intresting and dynamic.

A heart-wrenching, tear-shedding, smile-breaking and insipring album from Nerina. The best tracks in my opinion are Idaho, Damascus, Mr King, Geek Love and Confide in me.

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VINE VOICEon 7 June 2006
Nerina Pallot hasn't really had the breaks she deserves. You could be forgiven for wondering why she didn't just give up the music business after the deafening lack of response to first album "Dear Frustrated Superstar". "Fires" also started out overlooked by the music industry, and it's all credit to Nerina's determination (as well as her sublime live performances and the fierce loyalty of her fans) that she's pushed it long and hard enough to make people notice her. A change in musical fashions has certainly helped; the re-release of "Fires" and the heavy promotion behind singles "All Good People" and "Everybody's Gone to War" are a welcome sign that now and again, talent and persistence can get the rewards they deserve.

Comparisons to other singer-songwriters are inevitable. I find myself hearing echoes of the Indigo Girls ("Halfway Home"), Natalie Imbruglia ("Learning to Breathe"), Jewel ("Mr. King"), KT Tunstall ("All Good People") and Eddi Reader ("Nickindia") as well as the more obvious parallels to piano-based songstresses Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush and Tori Amos. Some of these have clearly influenced Nerina's development as a songwriter; others have probably helped create the market niche she can now occupy. That's no disrespect to the songs themselves; as well as infectious, under-the-skin melodies and intelligent, often quirky lyrics, there's a strong and confident musicianship underlying every track, and an exquisite ear for a well-crafted arrangement. Nerina plays like a concert pianist, enhancing the more delicate tracks with subtle orchestration finely crafted to fit the mood of every piece. And she sings like an angel; her natural timbre is a little husky (perfect for seduction ballads or anti-war rants) yet her upper register is crystal clear, the high notes of "Sophia" send shivers through me every time I hear them.

The songs are marked by a refreshing, heart-on-sleeve honesty (from the heartfelt "I don't want to die" of "Everybody's Gone to War", to the pragmatic repeated "we're geeks" of "Geek Love") and a poet's sense of the power of imagery. Several of the songs are quite introspective, even cynical; but the same lyricist who can write "Maybe love is just a requiem for the soul" also has a knack of capturing the joy and the spark in dreams, in moments of inspiration, and in the discovery of new love. Nor does Nerina mince her words when commenting on the society around her; "Everybody's Gone To War" may be a great radio-friendly piece of pop-rock but it's also one of the fiercest critiques of global politics to have assailed the upper reaches of the charts in years.

If there's one minor criticism of the album, it's simply that in places it's a little too highly polished. Nerina Pallot is a live performer full of vivacity and charm, and here and there it does sound as if that sparkle has been a little overwhelmed by the polished production. But that's a minor criticism; in other respects this album is one of the finest (and most addictive) I've heard for a long time. Personal favourites: the mildly demented travelogue of "Idaho", the beautiful and spine-tingling "Sophia", and the gloriously uplifting "Learning to Breathe". A stack of songs that have got themselves firmly lodged in my head and heart, and stubbornly refuse to shift.
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on 9 September 2006
Having bought Dear Frustrated Superstar way back in 2002, I feared Nerina would be another one album wonder, a victim of today's music industry that doesn't stick with an artist to grow. Well she nearly was, luckily she came back on her own terms - Fires came and went in 2005 - I only found out about it by accident while scanning Amazon, it was my album of 2005. This 2nd edition of the album builds on the original and is more "spangly" to use Nerina's description, there isn't a filler track in sight...seriously. Learning To Breathe is the best song here and I hope it'll be the 5th single if there is one. The songs are well constructed and her voice is as flawless as ever...in a way I don't want her to be TOO successful - I want to keep her to myself.

In just 2 albums she has become one of my favourite singers of all time....buy this album and be amazed.
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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2005
I'd never heard of Nerina Pallot before yesterday. Then I saw her supporting Gretchen Wilson last night.
An absolute star. Live, her personality shines through, where you get a clear sense that she's having the time of her life. And she talks to the audience like no-one I've ever seen - "You're a smashing audience, and I should know, because I've had some really bad ones".
So I bought the album there and then (and she was totally charming when she signed it, too). And it's wonderful - everything all of the other reviewers have said is true. Lyrics that actually mean something, and some good, old-fashioned tunes!
You can put away your Katie Melua and Dido records - here's a proper female singer-songwriter at last. She's a star, and she deserves to be huge.
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on 13 April 2005
Nerina Pallot returns to the commercial music scene (having spent the last four years drip-feeding her justifiably fanatical following with a few live appearances in intimate venues) with this lovely album.
There are plenty of songs (Idaho, Geek Love, Learning to Breathe, Mr King ....) that you will listen to, melt into and simply rewind and play again. It is well-constructed, well-produced and above all beautifully performed, showcasing Pallot's soaring voice and heart-warming melodies.
This album will put a smile on any face. What price on that? You would be missing out if you didn't have it in your collection...
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on 14 April 2006
I am delighted that this album is being re-released and by a different label. This was surely one of the best albums by a female artist last year.

Comparisons with Tori Amos abound but Nerina is much more accessible and more radio friendly. If you like female vocalists generally, Nerina will not disappoint.

And please, please, please release 'Halfway Home' as a single - it deserves to be a big radio hit this summer! However, the first single to be released from the re-released album is 'Everybody's Gone to War' - which will strike a chord for obvious reasons and is a delightfully catchy, uptempo, guitar driven song, which despite it's subject matter will have you singing along.

Other highlights of this album for me are Idaho, Mr King, Geek Love and All Good People. All in all, Nerina reveals herself to be a very talented musician, singer and songwriter. This album deserves to be a hit this time!
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on 24 May 2006
I've been hearing Everybody's Gone to War, Damascus and All Good People on the radio for a few years now, but it wasn't until I saw the re-issue of this album in the shop yesterday that I decided to buy it. And I'm so glad I did because this is a brilliant album by a brilliant artist. Her voice and lyrics surpass a lot of singer/songwriters around right now, and I could listen to this album all day, especially Idaho which is my personal favourite. If you happen to buy this album on a whim like I did you will not be disappointed.
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on 11 October 2006
Frankly, what the world doesn't need right now is yet another female singer-songwriter - but then Nerina Pallot is not just another female singer-songwriter. Blessed with the energy of Alanis Morissette, the musical kookiness of Tori Amos and the soaraway voice of Joni Mitchell, Nerina is one of the UK's hidden talents. Having been dropped by Polydor after producing what, for me was one of the best singles of 2001 - `Patience', she is back with this new collection of eclectic songs.

What has endeared me to this album above all the competition is that her songs all manage to weld the assured harmonic progressions of Aimee Mann to the surprising melodic invention of Kate Bush and this is no mean feat. Yet despite all these comparisons, she definitely has her own personality which she brings to bear on the copious lyrics found on `Fires' ranging from the 60s like protest of `Everybody's Gone to War' to the soulful yearning of current single `Sophia'.

Checking in at 46 minutes, this album is not overlong and has been properly quality controlled so that there is very little filler (others take note!). There is also a good variety of styles evident from the poprock of the somewhat Steely Dan-ish `All Good People' to the Indian influenced `Heart Attack' and this again sets her apart from the many soundalikes operating in her market.

If you like the female singer-songwriter genre but feel, as I have, that the current offerings are a little stale, give Nerina a try. You won't be disappointed.
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on 9 July 2005
If this does not hit big then there is no justice, the whole album is full of top quality catchy, melodic tunes. It ranges from upbeat rocky tracks like "Everbody's gone to War" & "Heat Attack" to heartrenching ballads such as "Damacus".
Each track is layered with subtle key changes and intelligent lyrics, in the press Nerina has been decribed as the Britsh Tori Amos or even the new Kate Bush but to compare is unfair and, sticking my neck out here, but with the right support and a bit of luck she could well be bigger than both of these put together. BUY THIS ALBUM NOW - you will not regret it.
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