Peter Nardini

Whistleberry CD003

When the chorus of the opening song on an album includes the lyrics “Standing on heavens doorstep, sniffing the wind” you know that you’re about to be sucked in and sent spiralling through a darkly surreal place, and then be spat back out into reality with your thoughts altered forever. This is the experience I felt when listening to the third album from Lanarkshire based artist and (occasional) songwriter, Peter Nardini.

Musically the album couldn’t be more basic - a guitar, a harmonica and a nasally vocal - but musical wizardry isn’t what this album is about and all the better for it. There’s a steady, laid back feel to the album, and due to Nardini’s knack for constructing stories that make the listener use their imagination, his ‘talking blues’ style is never dull. The best example of this is on ‘Fiery Star’, where he transports us to Italy, and invites us to listen into a conversation he’s having with St Frances about the greatest love of all whilst strolling along the banks of Lake Trasimeno. This fantastical encounter is comparable to something conjured up by the writer, Italo Calvino, in one of his ‘Italian Folktales’.

The whole album could be viewed as a series of short stories with the subject matter swinging from not-so-true-love on ‘Bright Eyed Boy’, to the darkly humorous, Bukowskiesc tale of a grown man celebrating Christmas alone and not receiving a card from his ex on ‘Plastic Angels’. It’s full of characters that we have all passed by in the street and never batted an eyelid at - however Nardini has taken an interest in these people’s lives and portrays their everyday situations in such an intriguing way that you can’t help but be drawn towards or feel some kind of emotion for them.

The majority of songwriters go through their careers writing maybe only two or three genuinely great songs that will remain in the listener’s memory - not many write thirteen and include them all on one album. Oh, and there’s a couple of untitled tracks hidden away at the end; one of which (without wanting to give too much away) confirms why I think Peter Nardini should be hailed as one of Scotland’s most observant 21st Century songwriters. I’ll leave you to make up your own minds about this.

Stuart Ross

Secure On-line mailorder service
Buy this CD online from The Listening Post
The Listening Post is the CD mailorder service of The Living Tradition magazine.
This album was reviewed in Issue 63 of The Living Tradition magazine.