Nadia Reid/Basin Rock
We won’t take as long to catch on this time around. Everyone will (rightfully) be singing Nadia Reid’s praises with this, her accomplished second album. It arrives – with some expectation – just 18 months after the whirlwind of her magical debut record and so many tours. In that time Reid has toured the world, honed her sound and written a set of songs that run deeper, and are better. And that’s really saying something. Her voice is a thing of beauty and power but it was with songwriting that Reid has made her name – in that regard you can think of Joni Mitchell. And so Preservation might be her Blue. There are break-up songs every bit as deep as anything on that sparse classic (Richard). But there are guitar licks that could have come from Kurt Vile and moody, post-gothic textures that might have been borrowed from a Cat Power record (The Arrow And The Aim) or, more likely, Sharon Van Etten (I Come Home To You).
There’s also little surprises within the songs, within the sound and the lyrics – a series of tumult-jingle-jangles – how the gently devastating Reach My Destination uses just enough in terms of words and melody to do exactly that, how Right On Time seems to, in its closing minute, turn into a song imbued by the spirit of vintage Fleetwood Mac, Joe McCallum perfectly aping Mick Fleetwood’s sound, the guitars of Reid and Sam Taylor touching on Lindsey Buckingham’s mercurial sound.
And also anything you name as slight soundalike, as variable, as influence, touchstone – I can think of Mazzy Star too – feels like an influence integrated, not merely a trace-around. Reid arrived at her own sound with that accomplished debut, Preservation not only achieves the modest, sincere and thoughtful aim its title suggests it reminds that Reid is, as a songwriter, wise beyond her years and the sounds she conjures and shapes are starkly beautiful, subtly powerful and spellbinding; beguiling.
This is a record filled with heart and soul and just the right sprinkling of that mercurial pixie dust. Not only am I not sure I’ll hear a better record all year by the end of this one she’ll have fully arrived on the world stage; a feat achieved through purely hard work and talent.
The way Preservation moves from the spectral near navel-gaze of Te Aro to the Suzanne Vega-ish assuredness of The Way It Goes, with the bookends of the gentle, lullaby-like opening title track and Ain’t Got You’s closing kiss-off makes it not just an album – a very much complete album – but a study, in 10 takes, of a writer working already in peak delivery form. Not a note or line or lyric wasted, not a dud spot or weak moment. The type of perfect that never feels clinical, Preservation is a masterclass. Bold, brave, beautiful and utterly breath-taking. The magic is all here.