EN – Imminent Room

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Review by Tony Gaskin

IRL

EN is the solo project of multi-instrumentalist/writer, Erica Nockalls, a graduate of the world-famous Birmingham Conservatoire who has most recently been seen accompanying Miles Hunt on stage with The Wonder Stuff and Miles’ solo stuff, but has also worked with The Proclaimers and The Ting Tings. Her début album, Imminent Room, is not normally an album I’d probably pick up to be honest, but after seeing the songs performed live at the recent Pil gig in Birmingham I was intrigued enough to give it a blast and I’m glad I did.

I’m well known for my eclectic tastes in music and this album is definitely at the poppier end of the scale, but there’s enough originality and quirkiness in there to keep me focused. Don’t expect it all to be frilly and cute; Erica pulls no punches when it comes to the lyrical content, with every track featuring an “explicit” tag. No subject is taboo, everything from size zero models to institutional religion are the targets for Erica’s acid wit. To hear such vitriol from a seemingly quiet and refined artist may shock some people, but this only underpins the paradox of the whole album, a sort of musical beauty and the beast.

As a début album it’s very polished and the tracks seem more clinical than the live versions which are more stripped back and raw, but it’s perfect for just sticking the headphones on and letting yourself get lost in the complexity of the whole thing. Some of the publicty shots of Erica show her dressed in an Alice in Wonderland style dress, and you do feel has if you’ve got transported to a strangely compelling, but ultimately mad world. It’s an album that would certainly appeal to fans of the more unconventional and avant garde end of the pop/rock spectrum such as Bjork or PJ Harvey, it has that same “couldn’t care what you think, I’m gonna do it” attitude.

EN – Imminent Room8 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. Manikin
  2. Neon Crucifix (Ft Jeff Walker)
  3. Serpentine City
  4. Cut Them Out
  5. I Am Me, This Is Now (Ft Wayne Hussey and Mark Gemini Thwaite)
  6. Day One, One Day
  7. Lover 51
  8. It’s Killer Darling
  9. Imminent Room
  10. Goodbye Spider