[sic] Magazine

Nite Jewel – One Second Of Love

It’s tempting to wonder just how literal Ramona Gonzalez is being when she opens with a lyric like “ I’m a broken record/you have heard this before .” For, her new One Second Of Love LP is not only high on 80s nostalgia, it also follows the same hit-and-miss template laid down on her lo-fi electro-pop debut Good Evening .

Now also in thrall to mid-90s pop and radio-friendly R&B some might be immediately and understandably sent looking for the exit – and the questionably smoove groove of “Autograph”, for example, which wincingly brings to mind the lounge-funk of The Brand New Heavies , may well just do that. Doing little wrong, “Mind & Eyes”, the bleary-eyed “Clive” and “Memory, Man” all nevertheless remain largely forgettable too.

Much, much better though, the atmospheric thrust, fizzy bass drops and spectral soul of “No I Don’t” elevate the Nite Jewel endeavour to a different plane. Earlier, the title track makes the most of minimal 80s pop, combining some whip-crack drum programming with decade-specific synth creaks, earning some extra cool points as it goes by having the in-demand Julia Holter provide a simmering background vocal. Taking a while to make sense amongst such company, but enriching the running order immeasurably all the same, there’s then a late shift in tempo and delivery for the frosty alt-folk of “Universal Mind”.

The crisp, offbeat pop of “She’s Always Watching You” sounds not unlike Dirty Projectors getting to grips with some funk-pop best-of. Alluring and dreamy, the “In the Dark” ballad comes underpinned with a demure percussive clap and, nestling not a million miles from the late-night Italo-disco of Desire and Chromatics , wouldn’t have been out of place on the recent and much-lauded Drive soundtrack.

This all said, One Second Of Love leaves you with the lasting impression that the next Nite Jewel record needs a strong collaborative presence. If there were an open casting and say, Beck , or David Byrne , one of the new breed of producers like Clams Casino , or, hell, even Björk came through the doors strong-willed quality control in place, then the world may yet receive the great album of which Gonzalez is capable. For now we’ll simply have to make do with her diamonds in the rough.

Advised downloads: “No I Don’t” and “In The Dark”.

~One Second Of Love is out now on Secretly Canadian .~

Nite Jewel @ myspace