Nehedar is the project of NYC based singer-songwriter Emilia Cataldo.
Emilia has been writing and performing since 2001. Nehedar released her first “indie pop” album in 2007 and has released a new album each year since then. She cites influences such as Tune-Yards, Regina Spektor and The Mountain Goats.
She is now set to release her latest full-length “This Heart”.
Right from the opening track ‘Bells of the City’ with its ponderous pace and rusty chimes, you are greeted by that brightly shining, crystal cut voice of Nehedar. Her range is extraordinary. Clarity is the key. The vocals are strong and determined. And they create an amazing representation of sounds, angles and textures. The vocal work is very reminiscent of Annie Haslam. This is a complicated song, with a progressive edge. It would stand multiple plays and extended scrutiny.
‘Take This World’ begins with a slinky twiddle from the Middle East, then a guitar riff that buzzes like a locust on the wing. Just before the chorus, you get a slice of mournful violin that dampens the edges of – the otherwise jaunty – song. Then it feels laced with salty tears of real regret. After this, the song becomes a smoky bar-room dancer and reminds us of Dylan around the time of ‘Desire’ – perhaps something like Black Diamond Bay.
‘Weight of Your Bones’ slouches around the room like a lanky teenager. It has a generous fuss of tinkling keyboards. Then ‘What’s Becoming’ is a vaguely incongruous and bumpy piece of electro-synth heaven.
‘On Killing’ is a high point of the disc. Trumpets flare against the battered and bruised beat of a wounded drum that is trudging along behind. The vocals describe the expectation and the reflections of a soldier returning home from Afghan. The guitar is as convoluted and as sharp as barbed wire, and the whole pace has a destructive, wearing quality.
‘This Heart’ (Will Fall Apart) is a frothy cabaret song. With a Francophile feel and a whirling-skirt pace. You will feel like putting on your clogs and clacking to this one. Then ‘Why Do They Tell Me’ is set against some lightly tapped drums and some squelched horn. The downwards spiraling “Momma tell me ..” chorus will hook onto your sleeves and won’t let go. This is an infectious piece.
“I Guess I had friends – but not when I need ‘em” … the opening line of ‘I Used to Have Friends’ establishes the concept of exclusive relationships versus light friendship. This song is a bit quirky, very charming, and as light as a cherished flower blowing away on a windy spring day.
‘To Be Small’ is about the power of being ‘small’. With clever and finely crafted lyrics like “If you saw the world through my eyes … would you smile and collect the prize / It seems like something’s missing inside.” This is a complicated – yet jolly – number with a sense of foreboding – as an aftertaste.
With a stroke of drums ‘Bring It Up’ completes the album. The slightly discordant piano creates an eerie atmosphere. And the voice reaches some spectral peaks. “The man who sold the world” type guiro sounds are used to stretch the nerves and to add a dash of Latin American spice to the song.
This is a remarkable album performed by a very talented musician and her equally adept band mates. This album has a fascinating nomadic spirit. Each song wanders freely – and yet is gently reigned back by the talented singer – who remains, at all times, completely in control.
– © Neil_Mach June 2013 –