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Nina Nastasia, "Run To Ruin"

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These songs make me into another person. I'm a criminal, then a scared little boy, and the next minute I'm the loner walking through the desert with a storm at my back. Nina Nastasia forces me to assume these roles with her voice in my ear and her guitars cutting down at me like vicious slaps. One minute I'm in quiet solitude, hiding in a thicket and the next I'm being whipped around by a squall bursting with lightning and unexhaustable power. Run to Ruin is just that: powerful and excited. Nastasia's voice is absolutely entrancing and the instrumentation is a fluid swarm of acoustic strumming, near-classical arrangements, and cabaret-styled, instrumental passages. "We Never Talked" starts the album as the perfect preface. Nastasia's lyrics are somewhat vague and manage to evoke a sense of wonder and mystery in every song, but especially on the opener. "In the car, you'd have brought it up / But I went on about that job / All the love I have left you won't know / All the fear I have left you won't know." The way it's sung puts a knot in my stomach every time... and then the storm begins. "I Say That I Will Go" is a story about keeping a promise. It has a deliciously twisted ending that suggests all sorts of mischievousness. Violins, cellos, banjo, dulcimer, piano, and some distinctive drumming from Jim White of Dirty Three drift, collide, and wail with Nastasia's excellent story-telling and clear, graceful, and at times absolutely earth-shattering voice. Though the album runs at just over thirty minutes long, each song is full of character and developed completely. There's more variety on Run to Ruin than on most albums that last twice as long. "The Body" begins like an imitation-baroque piece and "On Teasing" sounds like a tale told by gypsies around camp fire; it features an instrumental duel that sounds as if it comes from the spirit world. "You Her and Me" creates a hybrid sound that holds country and folk music dear to the heart but is much more bare and delicate. Despite all the acoustic and familiar instruments used, this is a unique album with a myriad of styles and alien melodies. Every time I play this record, it's like being transported to another world. Not one song is disposable and after the album stops, I have this incredible urge to play it again just so I can drift away.

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Last Updated on Thursday, 01 September 2005 13:38  


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