The live show we saw was just Nina on piano with a guitarist accompanying her, a laid back set compared to her album, Quite Frankly, which is, musically, a delightfully playful romp with her piano or Hammond at the centre, but with double bass, fiddle, accordion, trumpets, french horns and sax amongst others embellishing the sound.
In contrast to this, Nina lays her soul bare on the record, first single and opening track Single Bed wearily accepting being on her own, and follow-up single Bruising, out this week, telling of relationship breakdown.
When I'm Not With You, the stand out track on the album, is a lament for a lover in a long distance romance and it's lifted by a gospel choir - it's absolutely beautiful. Little Fibs tells a lover "I'm just playing with time till my watch says time to ditch you" before the brass lets loose, whilst Clown is a beautiful delicate piano-led ballad that finishes with Nina telling herself she'll be fine as another relationship comes to an end. Final track Falling is another piano ballad but has emotion dripping out of every note as she reflects on another love lost.
Quite Frankly is one of those records that could appeal to everyone. Girls will relate to the stories she tells and emotions she expresses and it's not whiny or whingy enough to drive the boys away. Musically, it's almost flawlessly constructed, changing pace and tone at exactly the right moments and not repeating the same formula over and over, full of ideas and the production crisp and clear, allowing Nina to show off the range of her voice and stretch it around the instruments.
Nina plays the following shows:
Godiva Festival, Coventry - Sun 6th July - 14.00
Napton Festival, Napton - Fri 11th July. 17.30
Penn Festival, Bucks - Sat 19th July - 13.00
The Actress & Bishop, Birmingham. Thur 24th July. Supporting Mark Morriss (The Bluetones) - 20.00