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Neptune City by Nicole Atkins
Released: Oct 2007
Label: Red Ink/Columbia
By leading things off with a luxuriant, disco-driven slice of near-Abba ("Maybe Tonight"), Atkins introduces herself with a sight more sophistication than the other thin-skinned Fiona Apple hand-me-downs with whom she bears resemblance. The songwriter's songs are smart, commanding and, above all, dramatic, employing heaps of strings, childrens' choirs and crowded orchestrations. If it all sounds big, think again; it's gigantic. But Atkin's big-throated singing shines through. Highlights abound, but ballads "Cool Enough" and "Neptune City" get you where it hurts.
Nate Cavalieri