Natalie Duncan – Devil In Me
(originally written for leftLion magazine)
The Grammy-winning producer, the internationally distinguished musicians, the top-flight recording studio, the major label push… faced with such an abundance of resources, a lesser artist could have been drowned out by the sheer weight of expectation. Thankfully, Natalie Duncan has risen to the challenge. She begins the album unaccompanied, letting rip with one of her most unflinching lyrics: “Sometimes I feel you looking for the devil in me, like I’m a dying dog and I’m begging for your bones.” From then on, she remains in full command, steering us through thirteen tracks that cast her variously as tormented soul (Sky Is Falling), cool observer (Pick Me Up Bar), or concerned friend (Flower), and offsetting her searing, soulful vocals with delicate, stately keyboards. And rather than letting herself be moulded into the “new Adele” – whatever the instantly familiar opening bars of Old Rock might suggest – she asserts her own personality, whose complexity is reflected in the densely worked songcraft and the surprisingly varied shifts in mood.