Kristie Nalley – The Pagan Romantics / 2005 Self / 12 Tracks / http://www.kristienalley.com /
Despite the fact that all the documentation that I received with the disc said that the album was sanitized, I still felt as if unseen mold and mildew was messing with my breathing. Besides that, â€œThe Pagan Romanticsâ€ is an okay album. â€œBarely Legalâ€ starts out with Nalleyâ€™s vocals, and while different elements (drums, and then guitars) give their two cents, the focus is definitely on what Nalley is saying. The production is a little problematic during this track, as it pushes Nalleyâ€™s vocals down to a point where they struggle for dominance with the rest of the instruments. It is this that makes the opening to â€œThe Pagan Romanticsâ€ shaky, but this is not of a magnitude that will make it impossible for Nalley to come back on subsequent tracks.
What is a more lasting problem with â€œThe Pagan Romanticsâ€ has to be the ease in which Nalley bounces through and inside/outside of key; during a track like â€œLife in a Boxâ€, this provides a barrier that blocks individuals from completely enjoying the track. This problem seems to decrease as the tracks spin on during â€œThe Pagan Romanticsâ€, and by the time that listeners get to â€œMr. Producer Manâ€, Nalleyâ€™s vocals seem much more constant. â€œGet Back Down Thereâ€ has a solid guitar line that gives individuals much more of a lifeline to hold on to, even as Nalleyâ€™s vocals meander a little bit. However, unlike most of the rest of the disc, it seems like Nalley is working off a game plan. This means that the resulting track is much more impressive than the average track on â€œThe Pagan Romanticsâ€.
Nalley here even adds on a Breeders influence to eir overall sound, something that is needed considering that the disc has stagnated a little through the first few songs on the album. What seems to be the pinnacle of the disc comes in â€œMamaâ€™s Wineâ€, a song that adds a little bit of Tori Amos to the overall stew that is â€œThe Pagan Romanticsâ€. There are some problems with this album that have to be worked out before Nalley is the next big female singer to break it big, but I can see Nalley taking up a spot at a Dar Williams level of popularity in the next three to five years. Give the disc a go, if only as a marker for how Nalley evolves and grows in the next few years.
Top Tracks: Mamaâ€™s Wine, Divorce Me