Jodie Nicholson: Safe Hands

In 2019, Newcastle-based singer/songwriter, Jodie Nicholson released her debut album, Golden Hour. It was a strange choice considering Kacey Musgraves had released her Grammy award winning album of the same name the year prior. It basically ensured that anyone who typed “Golden Hour album” into Google was sure to get a plethora of Musgraves results before even the first mention of Nicholson. Nearly five years later, Nicholson returns with her sophomore album, Safe Hands and a chance to rule Google search results all on her own.

Being female singer/songwriters and having albums named Golden Hour is pretty much where the comparisons between Jodie Nicholson and Kacey Musgraves end. While Musgraves songs are immediately hooky, Nicholson demands the listeners attention for the full-length of her compositions. In the case of the opener “You Wanted This,” the payoff comes during the last minute of the three minute track. The ethereal drone and sparse percussion of the song finally breaks going full-out dance number. “Another Frequency,” arguably the most accessible song on the album, follows roughly the same pattern. Catchy funk bass grounds the song but drums seem to bubble under the surface for a full 3:18 seconds before they finally break into the forefront.

By the time album single, “What If” hits as the seventh track the pattern is so distinct that you can almost instinctively skip to last minute to see if the pay off is worth sitting through the first two-thirds of the song. In the case of “What If,” it is worth it. That is not the case for the entire album though. “Love, I’m On Fire” gets louder at the end with lush strings entering the fold but it never really breaks out of its ballad form.

In the end, Safe Hands is the work of a good songwriter who has perfected one very specific trick. If you like the structure of one of Nicholson’s songs, you might just like them all but after seeing the same waveform again and again you yearn for one song to start off loud and then taper off.

Rating: 6.1/10

Listen on Apple Music

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