Why Nerina Pallot isn’t a bigger phenomenon is a question that will haunt us forever. After all, anyone who’s heard Fires – in our mind such a defining alt-pop album that we wrote a love letter to it here – will know that Pallot is a pop force to be reckoned with (just ask Kylie, who’s taken some really good stuff from her). The Sound and The Fury promises a less passive approach from the title alone. Hard to disagree when it starts with There Is A Drum; yes, there certainly is a drum, and it pounds in the thrall of Pallot’s distinct verve.
As the album progresses, it seems that Pallot is no longer directed by the need to make a chart-conquering chorus, a fact that often works to the record’s detriment. Sure, she knows how to whack one out in her sleep as she does on Ain’t Got Anything Left, though largely these are songs surrounded by the weight of darkness and political strife.
But while there’s an admirable sense that we’re seeing Nerina Pallot in transition from pop-peddler to someone with a bit more to say, we do feel like we’re falling down in between. If I Had A Girl, a furious feminist anthem with typically Pallotian barbs, has a blues vibe that seems a bit out of place with our Dear Frustrated Superstar. These are certainly more adult songs from a woman we have nothing but respect for, but the fury to do something different certainly comes at the cost of the sound.
The Sound and The Fury by Nerina Pallot can be ordered here.