Nicola Schultz "Union"
This is a difficult one. At what point do emotional songs become moping self-indulgent whinges? With song titles like ‘It’s OK Now’, ‘The Loved One’, ‘Self-Sabotage’ and ‘Grateful One’ you might be forgiven for thinking Nicola Schultz’s ‘Union’ is some sort of Alanis Morissette clone ten years out of date, or maybe even simply a collection of ‘Under Rug Swept’ B-Sides. You might still be thinking the same when the music begins, all awkward electronic effects and feebly plucked arpeggios. You are unlikely to have gotten this far, however, as the cover says it all really, some sort of new age crystal effect image of two figures joined in an embrace, the sort of emblem you might find on a gift shelf in Next Home stores this Christmas.
This is music that takes itself far too seriously, the audio equivalent of a fourteen year old girl’s diary: desperately sad proclamations of affection and unconvincing self-reassurance. There are some songs buried in amongst the weeping but the choice of instrumentation, especially the weirdly out of place keyboard flourishes that bring to mind early nineties Brit-pop and the intrusive electronic drum sounds mask much of them. It is never satisfying to give an artist a bad review but beyond Schultz herself it is difficult to see who would get anything out of this. Perhaps someone that collects porcelain cats might like it.