On her expansive and brilliant third album, Out of My Province, singer-songwriter Nadia Reid leaves listeners captivated, exposed, and vulnerable, as only she can.
On her first two albums, Nadia Reid solidified herself as one of the most notable songwriters coming out of New Zealand. Her debut LP, listen to formation, look for the signs, was beautiful melancholy. Preservation, meanwhile, was an intimate, thought-provoking catharsis, which landed on our Favorite Albums of 2017. Her third record, Out of My Province, Reid expands her sound exponentially. The expansion comes with the help of Matthew E. White and Trey Pollard of Spacebomb Studios in Richmond, Virginia, located some 9,000 miles away from her home in Port Chalmers. While there is the shift in sound, Reid’s music is still as stunning, and her trademark, songwriting brilliance remains.
Out of My Province starts out with “All of My Love”, which is a gorgeous song elevated by a lush layer of strings under the song’s chorus. Reid is at her best on the knockout “High & Lonely”. Through a soothing atmosphere that includes a perfect layer of horns and organ, Reid sings:
“Oh and if I died tomorrow
Would you come and hold me?
Are you high, man?
Are you lonely?”
The sound of organ and horns is also present throughout the rest of the record, notably on the upbeat and made-for-a-road-trip “Oh Canada”. It’s not the record’s only rocker, as “The Future” is Reid turns up the volume and intensity ever so slightly thanks to an extraordinary bass line. The folky “The Other Side of the Wheel” gets there, too, and it’s accompanied with some of Reid’s best lyrics.
The bigger sounding tracks are fantastic, but where Reid has shone in the past is her ability to craft quiet, intimate moments. “Heart To Ride” is perhaps Reid at her subtle, finger-picking best. The reflective “Best Thing” is one of the year’s finest tracks. It starts out with Reid strumming heavily on acoustic guitar. The sparse percussion and electric guitar build into something truly immense by the time it ends.
“You are the best thing
That I have ever had
And no one could ever know
That I am better off from being your one.”
The record’s emotional centerpiece, however, is “Get the Devil Out”. Composed mostly of Reid’s voice, her finger-picked guitar, and a lush helping of strings, the song is as powerful as the woman who sings it. Reid shares her experience battling her demons as well as growing and learning from past versions of the self. While her gorgeously soft vocals are enchanting, every word she sings is bone-jarring. Her words leave you exposed and vulnerable to not just her tale but to your own experiences.
“I’m making friends with who I used to be,
She was a little shorter,
She was a little lighter,
I am only one woman,
You are only one man.
I tried to find religion,
I am right as I am.”
On Out of My Province, Nadia Reid has created yet another astonishing record. From the quiet tracks to the more upbeat ones, she has diversified her sound. And it is all amazing. Reid has had fully fleshed-out tracks on her previous albums, but there’s something about Out of My Province that makes it all feel a bit special. Perhaps it’s the pristine Spacebomb production, or maybe it’s also her evolving as a songwriter. Whatever it is, Reid leaves listeners captivated and exposed, as only she can.
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