Nicole Atkins – Mondo Amore (Razor & Tie)

Five years seems like a long time to wait nowadays for a new record, when any laptop can convert into a portable recording studio, but Nicole Atkins gets a pass.

On Mondo Amore, the first real follow up of new music to her 2006 debut (the EP released in 2009 was all covers), Atkins ratchets up everything from the writing to the music, turning in an effort that eclipses her previous albums.

Though the record is not flawless – tracks like the opener “Vultures” and the midpoint “This is For Love,” while decent, don’t quite measure up to some of the more rock-oriented songs on the record – but all is forgiven thanks to songs like “Cry Cry Cry,” the stellar “My Baby Don’t Lie” and the beautiful “War is Hell”. With raspy vocals that evoke everyone from Janis Joplin to Audra Mae, Atkins is proving to be one worth waiting for, even if it takes her another five years to come up with a full length of original material.

Top track: “My Baby Don’t Lie”
Rating 8 out of 10
Nicole Atkins – Mondo Amore/Razor & Tie/10 Tracks/2011

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