STYLE: Pop RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 6617-6535 LABEL: Sparrow SPD51934 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RELEASE DATE: 2002-10-04 RRP: £4.99
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
Since her emergence in 1998 Nichole has been one of Nashville's finest talents. The title track on her 'Wide Eyed' debut was one of the finest songs of the year while her voice full of bitter sweet phrasing and the ability to glide effortlessly into wistful grace notes would have found her a session singer living even if she wasn't one of Nashville's finest songwriters. This is the album which rocketed Nichole in the upper echelons of the US CCM scene. Unlike her first two projects, this set deals far less with introspective tales of struggle and instead is an extended contemplation of God's goodness. That isn't to say that Nichole's lyrics have become prosaic and over-familiar, the touch of the poet's hand is still very much in evidence here. One song, "Healed" with its memorable chorus "By your wounds we are healed", is particularly powerful: "We stutter and we stammer 'til you say us/A symphony of chaos 'til you play us/Phrases on the pages of unknown/'Til you read us into poetry and prose/We are kept and we are captive 'til you free us/Vaguely unimagined 'til you dream us/Aimlessly unguided 'til you lead us home." Such eloquence is underpinned by masterful production from Charlie Peacock (seven songs) and Mark Hammond (five songs) who bring in plenty of multi-textured instrumentation and ProTool effects on the vocals to give Nichole's poignant and haunting songs a pristine pop sheen. Wonderful stuff.
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