Heather Nova - Storm
Heather Nova’s move to a new label (Big Cat from V2) comes complete with a chance of style. Where South, her most recent studio album was also her most commercial, the almost inappropriately named Storm is a stripped down acoustic record, so quiet that there are times when you can actually hear tree frogs outside the studio in the background on the finished product.
The problem with the album is that it will really only appeal to those already familiar with Nova’s haunting vocals – there’s no obvious big single to hook the mainstream here, although River Of Life comes the closest, despite sounding too much like previous single “Heart And Shoulder”, and you can’t help feeling that the vocals are, at times, too restrained, especially compared to some of the soaring choruses on her most recent records.
Heather is a talented artist, an amazingly powerful vocalist with a superb range, and yet the album just sounds flat, probably due to the simple lack of variation between the songs. Whether it will grow with repeated listens is a good question, but my initial perception is of a record of subtle music, with good collaborators (Mercury Rev and Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith group) but an album which will have little impact outside of her existing fanbase.
For an album called “Storm” described as about “temptation, desire and guilt”, the record itself sounds resigned, and even the slightly faster tracks such as "I Wanna Be Your Light" sound melancholy.
Those curious about Heather should check out her earlier records, Siren and Oyster to hear her at her best.