The Locksmith Cometh is a prettily sung album with lyrics that veer from interesting (the tautest and best is adapted from Brahms’ Liebeslieder Waltzes), to soggy (“I’ll find a way / To take all your nightmares away”, “The cloud cover may hover… but there’s always blue sky above it”), to an inventive shaggy dog story that ends with a bear. Nedelle’s simple singer-songwriter style invites us to put her in the company of other singer-songwriters who have sung simply—Sufjan Stevens, for example, or Nina Nastasia. Her press kit offers up the name of Vashti Bunyan to serve as a comparison but Nedelle doesn’t have Bunyan’s detectable grounding in folk music. Any folkishness in her seems to have been filtered through indie bands. She would do better with that grounding. Her voice is sweet, but she needs something more—folk’s muscularity, Nastasia’s stark tenderness, consistently sharper lyrics—before she can compete seriously with her peers.
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