Nina Nastasia & Jim White
You Follow Me
Record Review by Adam McKibbin
When one thinks of the work of Cat Power, Will Oldham, Nick Cave and Bill Callahan (Smog), presumably “kick ass drumming” isn’t the first thing that springs to mind. So it’s nice to see Jim White receiving “above the line” credit on a singer/songwriter album; following close on the heels of 2006’s well-received On Leaving, Nina Nastasia returns for a compelling collaboration with the Dirty Three drummer. On paper, despite their track records, it would seem to be the sort of thing that could be messy and rambling. On “Our Discussion,” Nastasia sings straightforwardly and pleasantly over a simple melody while White sounds like he’s sound-checking for a rock concert in the distant background. As an isolated moment, it seems like the two musicians aren’t finding the same page, and maybe aren’t even interested in what the other is doing. Seen in the context of the album, though, it’s clear that Nastasia and White are listening to each other - and listening very closely.
On “I Write Down Lists,” White keeps a martial beat behind Nastasia’s strident tone on the chorus, the tight structure then unraveling and recalibrating again. Nastasia’s airy vocals are perfectly capable of keeping the pace as pretty and pleasant, but the album soars when the pace picks up, as on the slow-burning, seething “The Day I Would Bury You” and the insistent “Late Night.” The pummeling climax of the latter qualifies as a genuine headbanger moment, with Nastasia wailing “I may be the one! The one to save you!” while White seems to play everything on his kit at once. It’s a thrilling high on a tantalizing album; one can only hope that the collaboration doesn’t prove to be a one-and-done.
Nina Nastasia - Outlaster
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