Asthmatic Kitty Records
Review by Kent Manthie
Here we come to a brand new album by chanteuse Nedelle Torisi. This is her eponymous debut solo album (first one done under her own name). Nedelle’s been making music for a time now, as a back-up, a collaborator and being one-half of Cryptacize and as a member of The Curtains and some on-and-off touring with Sufjan Stevens.
On Nedelle Torisi, she brings things back, full circle, to a stripped down, soulful album that brings a pared-down rootsy style of R&B basics; this effort strips things down a bit, going back to a simpler, yet powerful influential background.
This breakout solo album of Nedelle’s is in no small way helped by the help of her friend, “housemate” and now, producer, Kenny Gilmore (Ariel Pink), who did a lot to synchronize the knobs on the board in the studio to make the best of Torisi’s showcase debut.
Now, as far as the music, in general, on Nedelle Torisi, it’s full of shimmering, romantic, lush pop songs. But I don’t want to leave it at “pop” because that is such a broad term and a lot of times, to a lot of people, a pejorative term. Besides what one may call “pop” is heightened by great production that puts love songs, songs of introspection and plaintive calls of frustration due to the limits of depth in a saccharine society. This was done with layers of atmospheric waves, a chanteuse crooner that, when you close your eyes and lose yourself into the music, brings a picture of a dark, classy nightclub, where she’s singing with plenty of emotion and a swooning intelligence.
It’s not “pop” music in that it’s going to be big with the kids, but rather a more sophisticated tugging at one’s heartstrings. Songs like “Double Horizon” really stretches out, like a svelte body in a resting position on a chaise lounge. Then, after that there are two songs in a row that are related: “Don’t Play Dumb”, which is basically a way of gently but sternly telling her lover not to avoid responsibility for mistakes, wrongs, etc. In other words: “OWN UP” – I’m not stupid and I know you’re not, so who’s kidding whom here? “Stop pretending you don’t know what is going on here!”. The song is a very velvet, shimmering song. After “Don’t Play Dumb” finishes up, then the album seamlessly glides into “Don’t Play Dumb Afterthought”, in which Nedelle finishes her thought and places the icing on this idea to where it shouldn’t have any more ambiguity. Two other good songs worth mentioning here are “Can’t Wait” and “Fool Boy”.
It’s easy for someone like me to – and 10 years ago, who knows, I might’ve been a lot harsher on this one, but I can differentiate the lush, crooning glitter of Nedelle Torisi from the bubble gum saccharine of prick-teasing trash like Britney Spears and the like.
Torisi is a grown up woman who has talent and the help of her good friend, the talented producer, the aforementioned Kenny Gilmore. It’s excellent as far as a “make out” CD. Or, just a romantic soundtrack to a quiet dinner at home with you and your lover. -KM.