By Rebecca Marx
Niki Becker has shed her folk rock skin, and in her upcoming album: Reactor, a more mature and confident style is revealed. Everything about this new album feels disarmingly authentic, and in her unpretentious voice, life lessons at times are hard won.
Michael Wisti (Rank Strangers) of Albatross Studio has done his analog magic, imbuing a warm and focused feel to Reactor. Becker’s vocals completely capture your attention, suggestive of Chrissie Hynde, though less contrived. The band, made up of Shawn Davis (Rank Strangers, Davis III), Bart Boutwell (Landspeeder) and John Crist (Dashboard Saviors), are the perfect combination that puts the album over the top. Colleen and Laura Borgendale are harmonious in a way that only a shared gene pool can generate, and their backing vocals accentuate, without overpowering Becker’s (at times) subtle delivery.
Becker and the band, seamlessly create moods that entreat you to invest emotionally. Pour yourself a whiskey, and listen to “I Wanna Know”, a silky offering that’s knee knocking and soul baring. “Running” is a sultry, Southern rock gem, complete with: sexy bass line, hot and bothered guitar and poignant, banging drums. The track “introvert” is utterly believable, showcasing the inner thoughts of the wallflower who sees it all, but declares: “I’ll be over here”, and is “hoping you stay far away from me”. The song builds to a crescendo, and fades out in an exhale of sound. The album’s finale of “For the Time Being”, seems a nod to finding contentment, and is quite vulnerable in its advice.
Becker clearly has that “something”, that something that can’t be created, or bought. An intuitive artist, and an uncontrived performer, she has made Reactor of her essence. A work that is neither simple, nor elaborate, but just right. See Niki Becker at her release show: 6/13/15 at The Eagle’s Club with Catbath and Strange Relations.