Nicole Atkins’ second effort takes her places she’s never been before: sad, dark, dim places, setting the tone for her latest release, Mondo Amore. Atkins croons the departure of her band, label and former love. Despite the dramatic tension, the album is never angry or bitter; rather, Atkins is self-reflexive and honest as she situates her losses firmly under the microscope.
Though a variation from 2007’s Neptune City, Atkins doesn’t completely abandon her 60’s inspirations. Ballad “War is Hell” is the prime example of Atkins kickin’ it old school: soft, sweet and from another era. “The Tower,” the album’s chilling epic closer, is part-Doors, part-Mars Volta; a contemporary psychedelic spin packaged with a gut-wrenching lyrical and musical finale.
Amongst the vintage cuts, Mondo sports Atkins’ newfound edge and attitude. Lead single “Vultures” is a hip, slow-builder exploding with clarity and flaring vocals. “You Come To Me” is an upbeat rouser demanding to be heard. In experiencing the album as a whole, the listener gets a taste of Atkins’ eclecticism and becomes witness to her courageous artistic sincerity.