Mondo Amore is the follow up to the acclaimed Neptune City of 2008 by New Jersey born Nicole Atkins. When I heard the album was written and recorded after splitting from her partner, her record company and her old band, I was expecting more vitriol but the turbulence is controlled. I was expecting more bite and this is where Mondo Amore lets itself down, it’s like Kylie or Taylor Swift getting angry when I wanted PJ Harvey or Courtney Love angry.
Having said all that, Mondo Amore is a decent album. On track two, Cry Cry Cry there’s some great country pop, on Hotel Plaster and My Baby Don’t Lie there’s a couple of potential hit singles with a darker lyrical subtext underpinning their mainstream poppiness. The stand out track though is This Is For Love and the album is worth it for what in normal circumstances-major label backing- would be a radio friendly hit.
There a few wrong moves. You Were The Devil and War is Hell feel a bit contrived and are too weak, veering off point, toward melodramatic vamped up torch songs when a stronger finish is required but that said, her vocal performance on the album’s final track The Tower, redeems the album.
This is a respectable return to form. The chaos both professional and personal does come through on this album but not through venom or spite but in trying to be all things musically and having too wide a range in styles. I think she maybe just needs a wee cup of tea and a cuddle.
Review by Charlie Brown