Being a throwback used to be a bad thing, as it meant out of step with whatever was new, ‘of the now.’ But in the twenty-first century, seemingly everything from the past is right there with the present, from anti-racism protests to finding anything on Spotify. Nicole Atkins is a distinct throwback, a great one, who makes great sixties & seventies music on Italian Ice.
Ice seems roughly divided between the seventies funky a-side and the maudlin diva torch song b-side. First half tracks like the smooth “AM Gold”, sly “Mind Eraser” (QRO review), and grooving “Domino” are unabashedly ‘70s, in all the right ways. After the pedal steel twang of mid-album song “Never Going Home Again”, Atkins brings out her big torch for belters such as “A Road To Nowhere” and barroom call closer “In the Splinters”.
A first blush, one might think that Italian Ice is not the right record for now, as now is so ‘of the now’ that it actually feels like we’ve stepped into some future (more dystopian than utopian). But time also has no meaning, and this record is actually timeless, great across the decades.