Nadia Reid isn’t being completely truthful when she warns the audience that she’s going to ‘play an hour of sad songs’.
The New Zealand musician, currently promoting second album Preservation, certainly favours lyrical themes of isolation, journeys and heartbreak. Her country-tinged material is nonetheless shot through with a quiet acceptance and sense of optimism. “I was happy on my own,” she asserts on ‘Call The Days’ while on ‘Reach My Destination’ – about returning to live with her mother after a relationship breakdown – she directs two little words to her ex-lover. “One was ‘f***’, the other was ‘you’.”
The sweetness with which the line is delivered is indicative of her quiet assurance. It’s a quality that, on the like of ‘I Come Home To You’, makes her sound like Julia Jacklin catapulted five years into the future. Yet for the most part she resembles a less emotionally abrasive Sharon Van Etten, with her acoustic guitar being accompanied by Sam Taylor’s shimmering tremolo on set highlights ‘Runway’ and ‘The Arrow & The Aim’.
The set does suffer from the relative absence of the electronic swirls that gently underpin much of her latest album, despite Taylor’s best attempts to simultaneously strum and play a keyboard. This lends a certain uniformity to the material and it’s not until Reid appears for a solo encore that she re-establishes her understated strengths with ‘Ain’t Got You’, an achingly direct track that shows her at her tremulous best.