Remi Nicole - My Conscience And I

 Just as Siouxsie Sue is being re-inventing through a belated solo career, she doesn’t have to look into the past to remember how fresh she was in her heyday, all that is needed is exposure to the first two tracks from fresh and sometimes tormented femme, Remi Nicole. Mingling in with this Siouxsie Sue kick is the attitude and lofty pounce of an early Thea Gilmore, with the spiky punk and retro 70s rock licks accompanied ‘Go With Flow’, providing an edgy and forceful commencement. From the primal rock and punchy punk/new wave driven beginnings, this debut full-length expands and turns up some potent anti-folk. As the emotion swirling journey continues, the cockney taint to the 24 year old’s vocals starts to grow. Naturally and unfortunately so will the Kate Nash and Lilly Allen comparisons, as a result. This will be especially the case for ‘New Old Days’, name-checking childhood memories such as Fun House and Byker Grove. These are programmes that have been the backbone of the culture of people Remi’s age, as she gives the offering enough nostalgic power and pull to make George Orwell seem an amateur. More importantly, through this the material starts to broaden out.

By making way for some brooding and mournful reflection, ‘Lights Out’ a crisper and heart led vocal projection starts the material leaning towards the searching side of Tori Amos. Sobering thoughts resulting from a philosophical acceptance of a romantic dead-end are scattered around, resulting in a fresh departure from the brazen commentary on seedy life.  This song’s placement bang in the middle of the album is as shrewd and effective as some selections made by the manager of Remi’s beloved Arsenal. It paves the way for an accentuated impact to the new wave lash out at gutter press, ‘Tabloid Queen’. Swooning piano ballad of ‘Right Side Of Me’, takes us to the other end of Nicole’s spectrum from the visceral punk spirit opening. It is like the songs are years apart and this is now a contented loved up lady celebrating a new found completeness.

“I sold my soul to the soul man it’s announced, he gave me a cheque for a hundred quit and it bounced.”

This snippet of pathos from the blues/folk slow riding epic of ‘Soul Back’ is sung with Leonard Cohen-esque languidness and it is what is going to help Remi connect with those looking for genuineness, as her dawdling projection tells you that she is singing from experience. A balance is struck between authentic and earthy conveying of life at a low, without judgement and feeling forced to sing about thoughts resulting from a poor background just because you have got one. Catchy pop moments illuminate a free spirit and an ability to bring a fun and bounce to the solving of everyday trivialities and problems. This earthy and foraging life summariser has a down-to-earth love of what she does that is endearing and at the same time, enlightening.

David Adair

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