ALBUM REVIEW: NINA PERSSON - ‘ANIMAL HEART’
Nina Persson (The Cardigans, A Camp) released her first solo album 2 weeks ago (Feb 10). I may be a little late to the game in writing a review for it but was given the opportunity so here I am. Besides, there might not be many people that know about the album so I am more than happy to share my thoughts on this blog and spread the word. If you’re looking for a professional review by an accomplished writer then I would suggest reading a review elsewhere. Drowned In Sound did a relatively good one that is similar to mine in opinion. But all you’ll find here are the ramblings of a music fan! Sometimes maybe that’s better, I don’t know. Decide for yourself!
The album opener and first single ‘Animal Heart’ is definitely my favourite on the album. It’s the song that stands out the most straight away. An indie pop gem. I love those country twangs meshed with an 80’s synthpop sound, it’s like nothing I’ve heard before which is a good thing. Second track, ‘Burning Bridges For Fuel’ is completely different. It’s kind of hymn-like and Nina comes out with this husky voice that sets the tone for most of the rest of the album.
I’ve always been a fan of The Cardigans, mainly due to Nina, she has this allure. She was a great frontwoman. The sound on this album is quite different but you can still here their influence in the music. I’m ashamed to admit that I don’t know a single A Camp song. I’ve read though that the two albums she made (A Camp and Colonia) were heavily influenced by the personnel involved - the late Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse and Nina’s film composer husband Nathan Larson. Larson was also involved with this album too, along with Fruit Bats frontman Eric D. Johnson.
Another one of my favourite tracks on the album is ‘Food for the Beast’. To me, this is the most “Swedish” sounding song on the record. It has this disco feel, there’s steel drums and a glockenspiel. Strange combination but it does work. There are no more songs that particularly stand out to me until the end of the album. ‘The Grand Destruction Game’ is a great song with some brilliant lyrics, ‘Silver’ is a beautiful, swooning waltz with a baseball organ thrown in and ‘This Is Heavy Metal’ is a perfect way to end the album. Just a piano and Nina’s distinctive elven-like voice.
This isn’t an album that grabs you and unless you are either a fan of Nina’s work or interested in a synth-country hybrid you might find it a tad dull, but for me it has been a grower and I’ve fallen a little bit in love with Nina all over again. The album does showcase her talent and moves her on in a good direction. She now lives in New York and has a young son so her outlook is bound to change. It’s also music that takes you to another place and what I imagine when listening to this album is looking out of the window on a rainy day upon some enchanted forest. If the music can take you somewhere, I’m a fan. I like how there are so many influences in there. Nina’s been in the music business a long time and has worked with so many different people, it’s something I really admire.
Good luck to you Nina. I hope this is the start of something wonderful (and maybe some new Cardigans stuff soon too?).
Nina’s upcoming tour dates:
> 25 FEB 2014 Gloria-Theater, Cologne
> 26 FEB 2014 Bitterzoet, Amsterdam
> 28 FEB 2014 Kulturfabrik, Luxemburg
> 01 MAR 2014 Arenbergschouwburg, Antwerp
> 03 MAR 2014 La Maroquinerie, Paris
> 05 MAR 2014 Scala, London
> 06 MAR 2014 The Button Factory, Dublin
Buy tickets to the London and Dublin dates HERE.