SINGLE REVIEW: Stones by Nikita
This track introduces a fresh new artist to the world, a singer-songwriter with a no holds barred, tempest of a voice. Nikita is an Australian musician who cut her teeth on busking, doing the rounds of cafes and bars and pubs and numerous festivals, spending time between all that gigging writing and collating material.
Stones is her debut release but you could be forgiven for thinking it’s not. What’s immediately apparent when listening to this song is the level of Nikita’s commitment, not only is the sound of her voice evocative, with its smattering of husk and grit but her performance leaves no room for doubt. She means it. And the song? It’s a power ballad with all the right ingredients in all the right places. The engine of the production is provided by a piano with some discreet machine beats holding it steady and a lush soundscape of mood intensifiers advancing and receding behind it all. But Nikita’s voice is the superglue holding it together. A semi-mournful piano line begins before the first verse appears, ‘having faith when you can’t see it’, Nikita purls. We can certainly hear it though. Self-assured and searching, the intensity grows right up to the blistering peak of the chorus. The verse melody is suitably spare, uncoiling itself around the ebb and flow of the piano and leads nicely into the pre-chorus, which has a slightly more melancholic flavour to it but also hints at some resolve via the exhortative lyric. The chorus is big and quite theatrical, hitting a goose-bump inducing note on the title and descending to an earnest conclusion. But the chorus keeps giving, with a tag that stretches higher, showcasing Nikita’s more tender nuances, utilising her head voice to bridge the two sections into a very persuasive and soul-moving whole. After another cycle of verse and chorus, a bridge appears during which Nikita’s bittersweet tones and soaring cadences take flight.
This is the perfect introductory release for a gifted young singer-songwriter and a fine poignantly hypnotic pop ballad.
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