Kristie Nalley – The Pagan Romantics

Kristie Nalley – The Pagan Romantics / 2005 Self / 12 Tracks / /

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, “The Pagan Romantics” is an okay album. “Barely Legal” starts out with Nalley’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 Nalley’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 “The Pagan Romantics” 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 “The Pagan Romantics” has to be the ease in which Nalley bounces through and inside/outside of key; during a track like “Life in a Box”, this provides a barrier that blocks individuals from completely enjoying the track. This problem seems to decrease as the tracks spin on during “The Pagan Romantics”, and by the time that listeners get to “Mr. Producer Man”, Nalley’s vocals seem much more constant. “Get Back Down There” has a solid guitar line that gives individuals much more of a lifeline to hold on to, even as Nalley’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 “The Pagan Romantics”.

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 “Mama’s Wine”, a song that adds a little bit of Tori Amos to the overall stew that is “The Pagan Romantics”. 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: Mama’s Wine, Divorce Me
Rating: 5.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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