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Nina McSweeney - The Bitter Sea Album Review

07 Feb 2013 // A review by Alistar3000

The first thing that strikes you when you hear opening track Lost In Translation on Nina McSweeney’s debut solo album is the remarkable similarity to Portishead. It’s not just the downbeat backing track, it’s that Nina’s voice sounds eerily like Portishead’s Beth Gibbons. Fortunately the similarities don’t last long, with Nina finding her own voice fairly quickly; it’s a voice that will be familiar to fans of Concord Dawn, as Nina has been a regular contributor to their work.

The Bitter Sea is a strong album, full of quirks and interesting hooks that only improve with repeated listens. It’s also quite a dark album, full of melancholy, introspection, and more than a touch of sorrow. It’s that darkness that makes it interesting to listen to; this definitely isn’t a pop album, yet is very easy to listen to.

I found the songs just got stronger and stronger as the album progressed, with Someone Told Me and Falling From Grace towards the tail of the album being my favourites, and the catchiest tracks too; I’d find snatches of the tunes would pop into my head for hours after listening to the album – definitely a sign of some strong songs.

The Bitter Sea
View Track Listing

About Nina McSweeney

“A ghostly hybrid of delta blues, bluegrass and alternative folk, Nina McSweeney’s debut album ‘The Bitter Sea’ effortlessly soars and grinds through the nine beautifully-crafted tracks… When McSweeney does dive head-first into the venerable history of the blues she still manages to create something authentic and original sounding…Throughout the album, she manages to never overplay her hand, showing a restrained and tasteful songwriting style that leaves the listener wanting to start the whole album over again as soon as it finishes.” - NZ Musician Magazine

Vengeful Japanese spirits met by the river like a lover, a compulsion crawling beneath the skin like an insect, and the downward pull of the ocean’s welcomed embrace. Welcome to ethereal world of Auckland songstress Nina McSweeney, and the haunting beauty of her debut album 'The Bitter Sea'

Nina McSweeney, who is best known for her collaborations with popular drum & bass artist Concord Dawn (most notably on the track 'Easy Life' and again on 'The River' from the NZ Music Award winning album 'Air Chrysalis') is a prolific and multi faceted artist. She has performed as both a vocalist and blues harmonica player on stages local and international, including the Monterey Jazz festival, Homegrown and Rhythm & Vines festivals and has opened for the likes of the Black Crowes, Silverchair and Powderfinger. She currently shocks and astounds as half of the electric dirty delta blues duo Bat Country.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Nina McSweeney


The Bitter Sea
Year: 2013
Type: Album

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