As Pallot grows older, her sound has admittedly wobbled a bit. She’s traded more pointed pop or cut-to-the-bone missives for Radio 2 fodder (not a bad thing if that’s your bag), so it’s a joy to see some of that former lustre return on her hugely enjoyable new record, Stay Lucky.
As ever, Pallot remains an incredible force of songwriting and melody. Even with the simple arrangement of Juno, we realise just how much of a place there is for her in our lives; strings join her perennial piano for one of her finest song in years. In a strange way Pallot also seems liberated in herself, and her line “you’re the prettiest bird in all the world” feels like it’s as much a love-letter to a mirror as much as anyone else.
Then comes the heart-on-sleeve innocence of Man Didn’t Walk On The Moon, an old-school Fleetwood homage that refreshingly seeks empowerment in the enabling of mansplaining… if you want to interpret the chorus that way. Intent aside, it’s a massively fun moment that hits every pop mark it aims for; in the same way, Come Into My Room is one of the finest piano ballads of the year (that no doubt the world would spaff over if sung by Jessie Ware), while the title track weaves a tale that starts in a hospital and transforms into an uplifting song of support.
There are still a few bum notes of MOR in all this; Bring Him Fire lacks a spark of its own, Better feels a bit wan in comparison to its neighbours, and there’s a relentless hurtle towards Mellow Magic territory in the last act. But it matters little when it’s so clear that Nerina Pallot has found her groove again. There could be a few rougher edges in this polished product, but there’s enough here to ensure that Pallot’s career will stay lucky a little while longer.