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Heather Nova | Storm (Pinnacle)
Nova, daughter of a Canadian mother and Bermudan father and now living in the UK, has remained a little bit of a secret. Over a career that has spanned ten years, seven albums and almost as many labels, she has quietly worked her craft. Possessor of a voice that is simultaneously earthy and fragile, Nova has transcended her early days gigging with just a guitar in the coffee houses of London to become a mature artist whose latest release is positively sublime. The music on 'Storm', places her firmly in the role of a singer-songwriter of the Joni Mitchell variety: the songs are simultaneously uplifting, but melancholy, as though she has poured her experiences of life into the eleven songs on offer. Eschewing smart arrangements, producers The Divine Sparks have pared the arrangements back to their bare bones - and they are all the better for it. Classic guitar strumming, an echo of hammond or piano and disciplined percussion allows her voice to soar and achieve its purest renditions yet. Indeed, Drink It In has an almost spiritual quality to it and I doubt if Nova has sounded better. The track has a yearning that really does tug the heartstrings. 'Storm' the album title may be, but Heather Nova has created a placid pool of calm and invited us all to enter. Dive in and enjoy.

John Stacey
CWAS #13 - Autumn 2003