Neptune City Review

artist: Nicole Atkins date: 05/13/2009 category: compact discs
Nicole Atkins: Neptune City
Release Date: Oct 30, 2007
Label: Columbia
Genres: Chamber Pop, Indie Pop
Number Of Tracks: 10
Throughout Neptune City, Nicole Atkins takes inspiration from some of rock's most famous women -- Stevie Nicks, Chrissy Hynde and Siouxsie Sioux to name the most prominent.
 Sound: 9
 Lyrics: 8.5
 Overall Impression: 9
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reviews (2) 2 comments vote for this album:
overall: 8.7
Neptune City Reviewed by: sweetpeasuzie, on february 26, 2008
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Sound: Singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins has the melodic-pop coolants of Nina Gordon and the soft fluid spreads synonymous with Stacy Clark. Born in New Jersey's Neptune City just outside of Asbury Park, Atkins titled her debut album on Columbia Records after her birthplace. The tracks have creamy guitar tones and opulent string patterns that bounce in and out of the melodic scripts like in Together We're Both Alone and Cool Enough. She tells in a press release that the songs are reflections of the stories behind the people of Neptune City making the songs deeply personal and vividly real with dream-like figments that appear in the keyboard sequences, which etches canals through the balladry sweeps of The Way It Is. Atkins' vocals swoon across the melodic-pop meadows and steeples lining War Torn then hugs the dips and crests forming along the upbeat rhythmic flaps of Love Surreal. The exotic tones and lacy fringes of the title track add to the melody's dreamy mystic, and the flaming chorus parts of Brooklyn's On Fire give the gentle guitar links and calm tempo, periods of massive thrusts. The bowed guitar chords form pillars along the deep bass grooves of Kill The Headlights brewing a heady mix with Atkins' vocal rises, and the sarong of guitar curves in Party's Over are melodically trimmed to coincide with the airy string arrangements. Neptune City is an album that is completely glossed in melodic textures from it's barest moments to it's garish layers. It is so well polished that you would totally believe that fairies crafted these songs. // 9

Lyrics: The lyrics feel like they come right out of a romantic film like in Maybe Tonight when Atkins sings, I know we'll meet again/ Maybe tonight, just tell me where and when. Hope springs eternal for Atkins in the tune The Way It Is when she asserts, Don't tell me my love is not the one that I want/ That he's not the one I need/ I'd rather find out for myself. Her obstinate standpoint is contagious in these songs. The lyrics are the words of a dreamer and in some ways that is what Neptune City and Asbury Park were -- places where you could live out your dreams, but the dreams turned into dust for Neptune City. Atkins' songs scoop up the dust in her hands and stubbornly she wills it to be what she wants. // 8

Overall Impression: Produced by Tore Johansson (Cardigans, Franz Ferdinand, OK GO, New Order), the album is all original material with melodies that show the past on it's sleeves illustrating images that have a fleshiness to them like taking vignettes straight from someone's life. The music flatters Atkins' melodic timbres like a halo that glows around her voice. The music has a dream-pop aura with orchestral and rock sensibilities webbed in modern-pop flares that are satisfying to the senses. The music keeps your head in the clouds and your feet firmly planted in reality. // 9

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overall: 9
Neptune City Reviewed by: brucehead, on may 13, 2009
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Sound: Using a "Wall of Sound" throughout the record, Nicole Atkins's voice is astonishing. She brought in a full orchestra to play of the songs and you can tell through its fullness and depth. I feel that one of the small issues of the album is the band is a tad quiet causing her voice to boom whereas live the band has a strong hold on the sound. A little known fact about the creation of this album was that it was suppossed to be due out in July of 2007 but Columbia messed up the sound and it couldn't be played without a scratching so as a little bonus, "Skywriters" was added to all the albums that were pre-ordered for July as well as a remastered disc that fufills the expectations of the album. // 9

Lyrics: Atkins uses melodic guitar and piano riffs to set the scene for her songs that are tales about teenage life in Neptune City, New Jersey. The album begins with the catchy "Maybe Tonight" telling the story of 2 kids that have been in love for their lives and are now leaving one another. Similar stories take place in the guitar-driven "Cool Enough" and upbeat "Party's Over". Another theme takes place in Neptune City which is that of a broken heart. Songs like the hit "The Way it Is", "Together We are Both Alone and "War Torn" talk about presumably the broken heart of Nicole Atkins with lines like "my blood is just roaring//when he's the only one I've ever wanted//I suppose that's just the way it is" from "The Way It Is". Nicole doesn't just have lyrics of romanticism(or lackthereof), but some party songs that keep fans excited like "Love Surreal" and "Kill the Headlights". At last we have the title track, which is a map through both Atkins's mind and her hometown. Nicole Atkins wields a powerful voice reminiscent of Roy Orbison and breaks out in this album. // 9

Overall Impression: Most songs on this album are impressive both in their orchestration and Nicole's voice. Compared to the other music that's put out by female "pop singers", Nicole blows them away! Had the band been louder and have more control of the sound, then this would be a 10/10. If it were stolen or lost I'd buy it again immediately. // 9

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