Nedelle Torrisi

Advice from Paradise

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The journey of Nedelle Torrisi's third album (and first under her full name) has been an interesting one. Recorded in two weeks with friend and collaborator Kenny Gilmore (Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti), then shelved while each of them embarked on tours with other bands, and eventually lost for four months when Torrisi's laptop was accidentally misplaced in Russia, it finally saw release in 2013 simply under the name Nedelle Torrisi. Despite all the tumult, the resulting album is beautifully calm and soothing. Torrisi's quiet voice, her emotionally rich songs, and Gilmore's extremely sympathetic production combine to make the listening experience something very rewarding. Drawing from soft rock and Laurel Canyon influences, subtle electronics, and sweet indie pop, sometimes the record has the feel of Steely Dan doing trip-hop; sometimes it sounds like Carole King recording the songs she wrote in 1972 with slightly clunky but expertly operated 2013 technology. However you look at it, the duo creates a sound here that's very easy to sink deeply into as the wide variety of instruments and sounds lowers your blood pressure and Torrisi's tender croon whispers encouragement that bypasses your ear and heads for the heart instead. Alternately sounding cheerful, like on the peppy "I Love Thousands Every Summer" and the lovely and direct "Born to Love You," and mournfully sad on the slow R&B-inspired ballads like "Can't Wait" and "Don't Play Dumb," the album covers a wide range of emotions and moods but always features Torrisi's quiet heart beating right in the center. It's an extremely personal-feeling album that's made universal by how good it sounds and how sneakily catchy the songs turn out to be after a listen or two. Given the nature of the material, it's no surprise that, in the year following the album's release, Torrisi launched a romantic advice column called Advice from Paradise that she ran from her website. When Drag City reissued the album in 2015 (followed in the U.K. by Tin Angel a year after that), it appropriately bore the name of her column. Torrisi has made records that were good before, but Advice from Paradise is her best work to date, and fans of small, finely wrought pop music should be glad this beautiful collection has received the exposure it deserves.

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