Nicole Atkins

Digs Other People's Songs

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In took three years for Nicole Atkins to release a follow-up to her 2007 debut, Neptune City. Much of the interim was spent touring, switching labels, and reassembling her backup band, but Atkins also found time to record this quick EP, which doubles as her final release for Columbia Records. Working with the same musicians who gave Neptune City its nostalgic, Panavision elegance, she sings her way through four covers, only one of which -- “Dream a Little Dream of Me” -- will be familiar to casual listeners. The others are a bit more esoteric, from Nada Surf’s “Inside of Love” (performed here as a sweeping pop song) to the Doors’ “Crystal Ship,” and they’re performed in the grand Neptune City style, with twinkling piano and strings holding the whole pack together. The centerpiece is Atkins’ voice, a larger-than-life alto that manages to wring originality out of songs that are anywhere from five to 75 years old.

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