Nikka Costa & Strings: Underneath and In Between Review

Posted on 29 May 2017
By Chris High
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Having taken a six year recording hiatus, Nikka Costa is back with a bang with an eleventh and much anticipated album Nikka & Strings: Underneath and In Between.

With an emotionally Prince classic Nothing Compares 2 U opening up this 11 track thing of beauty, Nikka Costa’s zest and deliciously controlled vocals tear away at the heart from the off. The chocolate encased, velvety smooth Love To Love You Less is a majestic pearl of a blues/soul infused enchantment, whereas Come Rain Or Come Shine, her classily intoned version of the Francis Albert Sinatra gem – with whom, by the way, Nikka Costa performed at The White House no, less – drips passion from each and every chord.

That Costa’s father, Don Costa, originally arranged the track for Sinatra to sing alongside a 50 piece orchestra is not wasted here either. The depth provided by the ensemble, mixed with the vocalist’s searing style and unique grasp of delivery, make this every bit as memorable a track as you might think.

Headfirst invokes a nostalgic, Donna Summer-esque vibe to proceedings, whereas Jeff Buckley’s Lover Should’ve Come Over, twenty years on from his tragic passing aged just 31, is purely, intensely and dramatically, heartfelt/ As for the treatment afforded to Ray Charles’ Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Crying, well, ‘Wow!’ isn’t over stating the case in any respect.

Yet Nikka & Strings: Underneath and In Between is an album of such exceptional quality, even these fail to take the Track of the Album accolade, which kind of sums up just how superb it is.

You’ll go a long, long way to find a more heavenly, more mood enriching song than Arms Around You. A slice of melodic paradise that’s so infused with raw feelings of love, loss and hope, here is a veritable smorgasbord of musical delight that satisfies on every level imaginable.

Nikka Costa is clearly a woman at the very top of her game. Oozing confidence, perspiring authority and poering through, track after track, the majesty of her voice becomes mesmerising and leaves the listener tingling turn after turn after turn.

Welcome back, Nikka Costa. Don’t leave it so long next time.

Nikka Costa
Nikka & Strings: Underneath and In Between
Audio CD
Number of Discs: 1
Label: Metropolis Music
2 June, 2017
PR Rating: **** Blissful