From the outset, Nicole Atkins’ Mondo Amore brings its listeners into a realm of vocal driven indie-rock. As sophomore albums go, Nicole hasn’t given in to the slump associated with a follow-up to an ambitious and successful debut. This album breathes a fresh and new take on her bluesy, dulcet tones. As good a reference point as you could get would be somewhere between Neko Case and Otis Rush.
The opening track Vultures gleans with all the know-how of an indie superstar, awash wish lush vocals and an instantly singable melody. The piano-driven Hotel Plaster seeks to showcase her impressive vocals, which will remind some of Lady Gaga. That’s not a typo, no. The slightly pop-ier soundings of tracks like Cry Cry Cry show that Nicole isn’t afraid to lend her hand to left-of-field pop tracks and she does so with gusto and somewhat pulls it off. It does feel a little out of place considering the powerful and emotional tracks like The Tower and War is Hell. Of its 10 tracks, the stand-out moment Pop Culture Monster is You Were The Devil.
A successful and accomplished second record that breathes some life into the otherwise banal of the indie rock genre, Mondo Amore speaks volumes on its own. It’s debatable whether or not this will give Nicole the much deserved commercial success. It has all the trimmings of a successful record but whether the world is ready for another bluesy indie singer is uncertain.
Mondo Amore is released through Proper Records on March 28.