The first song Nadine wrote, 'Dreary Town', with its plummeting melodies and anguished vocals, is the most personal of all and the track that convinced Ben Hillier to come on board at a very early stage. It soon became apparent that the two understood each other creatively and wanted to produce a record that wasn't purely about showcasing Nadine's unique vocals but was also completely immersive sonically.
Musically, she is reminiscent of early Bad Seeds material and the bruised honesty of a sheen-less Broken English by Marianne Faithful. Vocally, Nadine counts her inspirations as Nina Simone and Maria Callas by way of Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston, while lyrically her classic tales of love and loss find their roots in personal experiences, filtered through abstracts of William Hogarth, and Frida Kahlo. Nadine has taken these influences and has created a work which blends her rich and husky classic jazz streak with fantastical, organic instrumentation and the twisted industrial sounds of modern life.
Along the way we dip into a brave take on adultery in ‘Runaway’ and the moral ambiguity of ‘Filthy Game’ which is based on a short story by Italo Calvino called ‘Mr Palomar’ and ‘The Devil’, which Nadine rather brilliantly sees as a kind of baton passed on from like-minded artists who recorded a song of the same title. Elsewhere, album highlight ‘All I Want’ has a simple piano motif that nestles next to the supreme vocals and wonderfully romantic sentimental lyrics.
Unafraid of roiling in life’s choppier waters, Nadine's album is word play on “love your mum and dad” and is named after the title of a painting by Nadine's friend Matthew Stephens-Scott who tragically passed away a few years ago. A few of the albums songs are about him and others also suffering from mental health related issues, and it’s the noticeably sparser, more electronically experimental 'Floating' that Nadine says the lyrical theme of the album is best portrayed.
Opening track 'Aching Bones', with its insistent clanging rhythm and sparse tinkering keys, sets an eerie, slightly menacing tone for the album whilst immediate successor 'To Be A Young Man's acoustic guitar hooks seem to offer comfort in borrowed nostalgia. The lyrics coming directly from conversations in her local pub with an old man who would regale her with stories of his glory days, and the freedom he felt in his youth.
The last song on the album ‘Winter Reigns’ sees an acceptance come into play when Nadine explains further about said public house “I wanted this to almost be a song of resolution. It’s where I would go to drink and talk about whatever troubles I was going through. What I love about the place is how warm and welcoming everyone was (and still is), their stories and their wisdom.”