Album Reviews

Remi Nicole – My Conscience And I

(Island) UK release date: 3 December 2007

Cheeky London street urchin minx with songs about blokes and how crap they are and other such irreverent ‘revelations’. So far, so Lily Allen.

Thankfully we are spared the satanic touch of Mark Ronson drenching everything in his cheesy-listening hell (that has been clogging up the arteries of the charts like bad fondue). Remi has chosen a more visceral rock production that lets the songs skip and growl like a dog borstal mongrel.

The latest strumming ‘chavette’ packs a bit more punch especially in the opening salvo of Go With The Flow and Rock N Roll. Both are powered by freshly-laundered punky pop strumming and are packed to the hilt with hooks and smart one-liners. Rock N Roll takes a swipe at folks presumptions that this half London/Trinidadian would be into R’n’B instead of Oasis: “I got no rhythm and I got no blues, I’m as happy as can be”, while Go With The Flow sums up her career trajectory to date.

The sun splash good vibes of New Old Days contrasts a light reggae lilting verse to a guitar thrash chorus which harks back to her innocent school days (watching Grange Hill and early hip hop) and “people asking ‘will you go out with me’ you’d say yes I’d love to and you meant it”, before the onslaught of irony and ‘whatever’ culture.

The bruised acoustic Fed Up deals with the perennial problem of crap boyfriends, leading swiftly into how to bin them with the exit song of Na Nighty. On the same theme, but with its tongue firmly in cheek Dates From Hell catalogues the losers and gropers that have crossed Remi with a sprightly wink and a longing for ‘somebody decent’.

It’s on Lights Out and Right Side Of Me that the front of tomboy attitude is dropped for two simple heart-baring love songs that share a gentle melodic pull that ain’t gonna win any originality prizes but could soundtrack a lighter-waving audience in need of some simple solace.

Tabloid Queen takes a pop-punk swipe at the media slag-bags selling the world their lives and their drugs with little regard for promoting individuality: “you read heat magazine…it’s the glossy magazines and the tabloid thugs that bully you to diet and taking drugs”. Soulback with its tale of the soulless McJob culture evens peddles shimmering psychedelia in its Dear Prudence-style guitar (albeit in a polite polished way).

The lost summer-hit Go Mr Sunshine feels that with its strident stomp has a determination that could chase the clouds away and a bruising eye for detail that “the girls have to market themselves, cause in winter they’ll be left on the shelf”. It could be the ‘noughties’ spiritual twin of ELO‘s Mr Blue Sky in its positive kicking of arse and bloody-minded hook-driven pop.

For an enjoyable ‘kickaround’ of an album this is a cheeky little blighter that will continue to tickle ears, raise a smile and brighten any listen for a while yet. Remi has a sweet voice and a way with her words that shows brains, but occasionally the songs veer into slight whimsy that can sound a bit samey. Let’s hope she avoids the rehab and curse of fellow ‘MySpace-cadets’ to endure. She deserves it.

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Remi Nicole – My Conscience And I