Album Review :: Nerina Pallot – Year of the Wolf

Pop Rock STILL looks good

Nerina Pallot - Year of the Wolf © Geffen Records

Following from the release of the first single “Put Your Hands Up”, Nerina Pallot’s eagerly anticipated fourth album has at last arrived despite delay. Year of the Wolf follows on from the strong potential that “Put Your Hands Up” promised, the added bonus of the gleaming production values and specifically aimed lyrics and harmonies that only big record labels like Geffen can create.

As previewed in May here on Moon&Back Music, Nerina Pallot has become one of the most underrated although established pop rock femme fatales in the music industry today. With her charismatically soft vocals tempering the often thrashing, almost maelstrom like rock piece behind her, Pallot has established a wonderful balance between delicacy and strength. Two stereotypically stalwart characteristics of supposed “pop rock”, the term itself somewhat of an unhappy juxtaposition, Pallot has the ability, and now track record to prove it, that there is indeed the possibility of breathing some creative and enjoyable life into this dying horse.

It is with a rather cynically smug attitude then that Year of the Wolf fulfils the expectation that the single “Put Your Hands Up” was a rather unfair and typically mass appeal effort of a single and not a fair reflection of the artist. With an almost unrecognisably different sound to the aforementioned single, Year of the Wolf delivers much more of the bitter/sweet, almost folk infused rock soft enough for mothers to enjoy that has been a staple of Pallot’s rise.

With tracks like “Grace,” “All Bets are Off” and “This Will Be Our Year” the agonisingly adorable voice of Pallot is measured, calculated and immaculately executed to make even the most cynical of listeners crack a little smile. Lyrically, Pallot weaves a magical and intricate storytelling ability to the most famous of pop subjects, facing adversity, lost love and the rise and rise of her own stardom. Indeed if such overly sugared topics are ever to be heard then they should be from the confident but still brutally fragile tones of Nerina Pallot.

To justify the tag of pop rock, the riff heavy tracks “I Do Not Want What I Do Not Have” and “I think”, the later even including a purposely “generic electric guitar 1” produced solo that would not sound out of place on a 1970s kids TV show about the future effects of global warming. Yet there seems to be an infectious, strangely satisfying softness to these tracks that make the listener smile once more, tapping their feet to the audio friendly drums and percussion.

Year of the Wolf is the album that fans of Nerina Pallot have been expecting. With nothing vastly different to her previous work, although the artist herself claims that this was her hardest album yet due to the adverse effects of pregnancy, the album is a satisfying, if a little flat addition to her growing discography.

Not to be confused as a classic or genre defining piece of work Year of the Wolf is an album that deserves any credit that it attains. For easy listening, beer garden on a warm afternoon background music then it is doubtful that any other album released this summer will match it. The easy on the ears lyrics and soothingly slow pace of the album as a whole make it the perfect compliment to a British summer by Nerina Pallot arguably the undisputed beauty queen of pop rock.

Jonathan Whitelaw

For tour dates, availability and everything else Nerina Pallot check out her website:

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