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Nicole Atkins

Mondo Amore (Razor & Tie)

Reviewed by Audra Schroeder, Fri., March 18, 2011

SXSW Records

Nicole Atkins

Mondo Amore (Razor & Tie)

Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer's sister in spirit, Nicole Atkins packs a wallop into Mondo Amore, her follow-up to 2007's more placid Neptune City. The New Jersey-bred singer-guitarist has a church pew voice, which gives opener "Vultures" a sinister edge. Being dropped from her former label, Columbia, and enduring a break-up inform some of the album's blues, but like any woman who knows her worth, she confidently tailors each song to those grand pipes, showing just how much she's matured as a songwriter. Piano ballad "Hotel Plaster," co-written by Future Clouds & Radar's Robert Harrison, and barroom hair-puller "My Baby Don't Lie" complement each other like silk sheets and cheap wine, but Atkins also tosses in some heavy riffs and valuable advice on standout "You Come to Me": "I spelled out your name with all the stars I see/And like that you vanished instantly." (Wed., 11pm, Antone's; Sat., 9pm, Cedar Street Courtyard)

***.5

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