BY JOHN B. MOORE
Nicole Atkins took three years off between her last record and Slow Phaser, and while I don’t have definite proof, I suspect she may have used that time to track down the devil and make one of those Robert Johnson/Crossroads deals.
That’s not to say 2011’s Mondo Amore or her earlier efforts weren’t good, it’s just that Slow Phaser is a big step forward for Atkins, solidifying her reputation as one of the most authentic bar room voices in American music today. Lyrically her songs have never been better, and couple that with her throaty, soothing vocals and the orchestra pop music backing and this record is not only her best yet, but one of the best releases 2014 has offered so far.
The album is not flawless; there are one or two songs that don’t quite hit the high bar Atkins set for herself with this outing. But songs like the drinks-in-the-air sing-along “It’s Only Chemistry” and the instant classic “Sin Song” more than make up for what you pay for this album (the fact that Atkins can create a memorably song with just a handful of lyrics repeated over and over, the way she does on “Sin Song,” is simply a brilliant feat).
Since her debut, she’s been compared to everyone from Roy Orbison to Loretta Lynn, but with this latest record and moving forward, people are going to start using “Nicole Atkins” as a reference point for others.
DOWNLOAD: “It’s Only Chemistry,” “Girl You Look Amazing” and “Sin Song”