Nadia Reid feels like New Zealand’s answer to Julia Holter, with a beautiful pure-toned voice sitting in the middle of a pristine swirl of complex sound. Preservation is a record born out of international travel and interpersonal heartache, which gives it an emotional depth even greater than Reid’s previous album. Preservation is released by Basin Rock.
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Nadia Reid’s last record, the excessively titled ‘Listen to Formation, Look for the Signs’, was a record of estranged subtleties, shifting between the contentedness of a lazy Sunday and the anxieties of a midweek coffee crisis. Largely existing for gorgeously picked guitars, quiet basslines and brushed drums, it made an impact with its production, which was big enough to let cracks of music in at choice moments. ‘Preservation’, aptly titled, has the exact same set-up, with the very same minuscule contradictions.
In a shocking bout of logic, it sounds lovely: the record’s title-tracked opener is a gorgeous solo centrepiece that focuses in on Reid’s vocals and her picking performance, allowing little twinkles of guitar to linger in the background like dust shifting through the room. It immediately gives way to Reid’s twangier and sludgier side, with the soft rocking “Arrow & the Aim” offering a slow-burning epic akin to an old Trespassers’ William song. “I Come Home To You” is a big song bolstered by the air its chunky guitar chords reckon with -- the space around the song feels cosmically huge, in part because of those subliminally played synths, which sift about the place rather than settling.
My qualm with Reid’s last record was that the bigger, more dramatic and enveloping songs rarely matched those as hushed and spare as “Reach My Destination” -- on this record, it feels like both exist perfectly. The best moments might be those that bridge both, letting the listener infer drama between hush and climax. “Te Era” has strums upended with groaning synth chords, and explodes into a distorted mayhem for one brief second. It’s the kind of gut punch Nadia Reid knows all too well how to deliver.
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