REVIEW: Nerina Pallot
by Margaret Chrystall
IT’s possible the Nerina Pallot Inverness met for the first time on Monday – still suffering from a self-confessed two-day hangover – was a more muted version of some feistier version of the singer songwriter.
A maverick figure who writes songs to die for, but likes to work out her career in her own way, the Jersey musician is a one-off with a wicked sense of humour, an ear for a melody and a voice that goes from crow-cawing raw to jazzily sweet.
But maybe more than anything, this relaxed performer writes lyrics that snag on your imagination and swing there for days.
The title track of the much-featured 2017 gem-packed album Stay Lucky reflects on her son’s hospital trip – “Balloons on the hospital gown/You had me worried, so worried … I thought you were letting go”.
Drily, she told us her son said of ‘his’ song – ‘I don’t like it mum – it’s cringe’, preferring to listen to drill and maybe enjoy the idea of his mum singing a duet with Jay-Z.
In a 14-song set including five from Stay Lucky and an encore, the songwriter’s special areas of wisdom included the relentless seduction of Come Into My Room, rampaging lust in Geek Love and Bring Him Fire, the weary mentality of break-up in Damascus and Love Is An Unmade Bed, political despair in Everybody’s Gone To War and the ache for a lost love in encore Sophia, the beautiful The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter and the co-written perfection of Grace.
And the One Touch’s quiet audience – later praised by the singer for their politeness, possibly code for unsettlingly silent if enthusiastic in the applause and requests department – murmured uncomfortably when Nerina asked: “Inverness have you had your heart broken?”
Well they might have now.
By a performer debuting in our city and packing bewitching songs, wry, frank humour, edgy charm and dangerous silver shoes.