REVIEW: Nedelle: Republic of Two
Nedelle: Republic of Two [Kimchee, 2003] (mp3s)
Three words? flows like icewater
As much as it's a cliche, summer really does call for a certain sort of music. There's a reason that the southern hemisphere produced Joao Gilberto and Orchestre Baobab, instead of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Hole. Sitting back in the sun, it's difficult to deny that the Beta Band's supremely mellow 3 EPs is a better choice of soundtrack than Modest Mouse's The Moon and Antarctica, no matter how great the latter is.
It's no small feat, then, that Nedelle has recorded 2003's finest summer record. It learns from the best: the breezy acoustic sashay of Getz/Gilberto; the vocal harmonies of Pet Sounds and 60s girl-groups; the Beatles' hand-claps; the simple, supple melodies of Carole King; Weezer's perfect, short-and-sweet running-times. At twenty-four minutes long, I>Republic of Two never has the chance to overstay its welcome; all but one of the eleven tracks begins and ends in under two-and-a-half minutes. The songs float in, shimmer, and fade into the pink sky.
Nedelle's voice is a light and creamy, far more reserved than the thick jazz pipes of Ella Fitzgerald or Diana Krall. Instead, she lets her lyrics bubble gently over the acoustic guitar, piano and organ - lazy words pull the sound out of her, the sound flowing around the consonants, into the vowels. "La la las," "ba ba bas" and "shooo-ahs" flutter out of the background, lending a fullness to the songs - particularly to the slink of "I Lied" and the choral sunshine of "Grow Willow Grow." Other highlights include "My Tendency," where Nedelle proves her ability to introduce a touch of melancholy, and the fifty-five second magic of "These Days," where violin and understated vocals grow beautifully out of the nylong-stringed guitar plucking. The only real dud is the woeful drum-machine during the title track's chorus: Republic of Two's strength is its humanness, its careless beauty, and the synthetic rhythm is like an artificial smile.
While some may quip about Norah Jones' lite-radio success, Republic of Two - like Jones' Come Away With Me - is effortlessly lovely, a delight regardless of who else is listening to it. This record proves the value of restraint; the beauty of a simple, sultry song on a sweltering summer day.