Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
Falling in love is easy, there are far too many sonnets and composed teenage angst written poems to suggest anything but. However staying in love, finding new ways in which the artists endearing affection and sheer honesty grapples with the heart and the mind in some sort of tantric wrestling match is a harder proposition for many in a disposable world to understand. However for Erica Nockalls, the maestro of the violin and arguably one of the finest players in Britain today, wrestling with the listener’s thoughts and musical desires is not on the agenda, not physically anyway, and in her second solo album EN2 the person cowering under the weight of uncertain times ahead is relieved by the undulating swell of string and bow and angry but beautifully paced and sincerely thought anger.
Conviction to the cause is one thing, passion is quite different and yet to combine the two is a perfection that many strive for but few can carry off. The album is as delicate as a butterfly being caught on the merest breeze, its principle belief that it is being guided by a natural force allows it to be shaped and placed into a safe loving harbor. It is also as relentless as a hurricane or storm at sea pounding the rocks of lonely isle, the battering of senses pleasing and yearned for. At no point does the rock yell back, “No more”, neither does the listener cower under the covers of their patterned duvet, the strength of will delivered by Ms. Nockalls gives strength to the listener and it is guided with assurance.
For the lover of the violin, it may be strange to think of it as a weapon, but this is no mere mace being indiscriminately hurled by a front row warrior, EN2 is the carrot, the cock of the finger gesturing ever inwards and the slight brush of a kiss on the cheek, this is the greatest weapon available, the act of joyful love and passion and in songs such as Blatherskins, the very cool 64 Backwards Teeth, the brutal sheer frankness attached to 5 Star Review, Universe (We Send Out Conduits) and Whatever Makes Your Heart Beat, Erica Nockalls has not just maintained the adoration that went along with the debut album, she has enhanced it and sent it out into the world with fire, brimstone and an overwhelming sense of openness within it.
EN2 may read like a perplexing maths question being sat for a university degree final exam but it is the simplicity of passion times honest feelings in which the answer lays. Stunning and complete, Erica Nockalls eclipses all.
Ian D. Hall