Leslie Nuss

Action Hero Superstar

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Leslie Nuss could have taken the easy route with her sophomore recording and filled Action Hero Superstar with happy pop ditties guaranteed Top 40 radio rotation. Instead, this winsome New Yorker elected for an unpretentious and quiet display of her talent. Moving from fluid, dreamlike soundscapes ("Stars Came Down") to sassy, punk rock guitar flourishes ("Scarlet Letter"), Leslie Nuss makes her stance as an intuitive artist whose craft is reflective and self-aware. "Time Capsule," a tale about rebounding from a failed romance, has the defining mark of a Natalie Merchant composition, and "Dynamite," bathed in the airy gentleness of strings and soft percussion, is all about desire. Both tracks sonically embrace the peculiar nature of feminine passion: subtle, underlying, and deep. Vocally, Ms. Nuss can keen to heights matching Delores O'Riordan, and her guitar playing is top-notch. But as a songwriter, Ms. Nuss is every bit a unique craftswoman, imbuing her work with a careful touch and a meaningful grace.

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