RePLAY is the little indulgent side of us coming out – every so often we’ll revisit a forgotten song or album, something that perhaps would have been better championed at the time with the existence of social media. In other words, if you didn’t listen to these at the time, you really should now. First up: Nerina Pallot’s Fires.
Despite what those coquettish eyes may say, don’t underestimate Nerina Pallot. Some poor A&R sod decided to do just that after her first album Dear Frustrated Superstar, leading the way for the now-Mrs Chatterley to form her own label and, essentially, igniting Fires.
Rare is the pop album that includes a political lead single (Everybody’s Gone To War), references to Phaedrus (Idaho), and a jolly ditty that reveals much darker undertones (All Good People). Pallot’s sound traverses the vast ground between Joni Mitchell and Sheryl Crow, though her lyrical dexterity is much closer to the former.
Take, for example, the album’s showstopper Damascus . A slow, almost funereal ballad, Pallot’s songwriting shines in its simplicity. “Hell is other people’s hearts,” she says, resignedly paraphrasing Sartre. It’s straightforward, but comes via such an impassioned voice that it just compounds the heartbreak of everything that follows.