Album Reviews

Nicholas Altobelli

Searching Through That Minor Key

Artist:     Nicholas Altobelli

Album:     Searching Through That Minor Key

Label:     Dalton Records

Release Date:     07/07/2015


Coming on the heels of the two exceptional efforts that preceded it — the 2013 full-length Without a Home and its follow-up, 2014‘s Mesocyclone EP — Searching Through That Minor Key affirms the fact that Nicholas Altobelli is on a roll. While low-cast songs of musing and reflection are all too plentiful these days, the success of the Milk Carton Kids being but one obvious reason, it’s the ability to cast the music in those twilight tones while preventing them from slipping too far into the ether that finds Altobelli absolutely standing out.

Reuniting with producer Salim Nourallah, whose own excellent new album Skeleton Closet is also worth checking out, Altobelli offers up a sublime set of songs flush with emotion and expression, each one so affecting it’s all but impossible not to be seduced from the first hearing on. There are scarcely sufficient words to express the beauty that beams from each of these ten selections, whether it’s in the gilded harmonies of the title track and those that grace “Dogwood,” the gentle caress of “Painted Aeroplanes” and “In the Morning,” or the soft sway and saunter of “Lonely Heart” and “Pile of Leaves.” And while the songs clearly maintain that minor key that the album title speaks of, it never settles into unmitigated circumspection. Although the tone remains hushed and reverent throughout, the melodies remain so distinctive the mood never overtakes the music.

Nicholas Altobelli is quietly — unobtrusively perhaps — working his way up the slow, steady road to wider recognition and appreciation. And with Searching Through That Minor Key, he’s about to climb considerably higher.

-Lee Zimmerman

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