Lonely Heart Club EP – Nina Smith
Written for LeftLion magazine.
Already well-regarded on the city scene, Nina Smith has gone from strength to strength this year, making her one of our most hotly tipped acts. A graduate of Trevor Rose’s CRS studio in St. Ann’s, where she learnt her craft adding guest vocals to hip hop tracks, Nina has developed her own style of delicate, vulnerable, yet subtly assertive acoustic pop, whose roots in urban music can still be faintly discerned.
On this, her debut EP, a beat-free, wordlessly improvised introduction segues into the title track, in which Nina hesitantly contemplates the prospect of a new relationship. (“I think I’m falling in love and I want to just fight it – should I take or embrace or deny it?”) These doubts are confirmed in Sexy Surprise, which has Nina helplessly observing her lover falling for someone new. “Can you let me in?” she pleas, already aware that the game is lost. “Oh, what a surprise”, she shrugs, shoring herself up by slyly mocking his new infatuation.
Then, the killer track: I Won’t Forget You is a deceptively simple love song on the surface, whose superb video (also included on the CD, along with an “on the road” documentary) subverts its meaning, suggesting darker undercurrents which are never fully explained. Lastly, on The Truth, Nina strives to resolve these uncertainties, this time addressing the listener directly. Her final words are inconclusive: “Please don’t make me tell you it’s OK, because I don’t know.” Ultimately, perhaps the only certainty here is Nina’s remarkable talent.