Erica Nockalls – Imminent Room
Erica Nockalls graduated from Birmingham Conservatoire with Honours and claims that her current solo musical expedition Imminent Room is a “genre defying contradiction”. So, at the album’s opening, the first bars of Manikin sound promising: for a few seconds there is hope for something of the breathtaking classical vs. electronic fusion of, for example, bands like Active Child.
In fact, many of the songs on Imminent Room begin with this same potential. 45 seconds into Serpentine and any initial anticipation for a kind of slow dub synthesis has been extinguished and this continues as the track dissolves into a trudge through laborious lyrics: “How do we work when we know we are dying? I can paint you a thousand words but you’d miss the majority…. Let’s get married under the stars”. Goodbye Spider gives a little more in terms of lyrical skill, but rests on a safe, steady folk plateau, therefore not achieving what was indicated by Nockalls on the tin.
The problems with the album seem to lie in the fact that Erica Nockalls is not a lyricist; she is a talented musician. The proof is in the pudding when you watch her playing alongside The Proclaimers and The Wonder Stuff, but her own attempts to craft words and sing them come across as juvenile and contrived. The second problem is that over-production has so bludgeoned the authenticity out of Nockall’s venture, all it has left to haemorrhage are flimsy concepts and unfinished experiments.
Before entirely giving up on the album however, there is one saving grace, which is the title track itself, Imminent Room. Here is proof that Nockalls’ vision is not unachievable. Soaring way beyond the others (there is no comparison), Imminent Room is progressive, epic and most importantly, it is sincere. Paralleling the sounds of Max Richter’s The Blue Notebooks, Imminent Room comes with authenticity and heart straight from the artist, and is thus a joy to listen to.
As a whole, this album sounds like a work-in-progress that’s been left alone with an overly-keen production team. I wonder if this is how The Corrs would have sounded had they attempted to appeal to a paramore fan base. For Erica Nockalls it seems she just jumped ahead too soon.
Try it, because an attempt to be different has been made, and if it’s only to listen to the isolated splendour of the single track Imminent Room, this is deserving of observation and critique. It is an isolated incident, and if Nockalls can channel her distinguished talents as a musician (and discard audible weaknesses), a second album will undoubtedly exceed the debut.
Imminent Room was released on 1st April 2013.
Watch the video for Cut Them Out here: