New Zealand is a land of many wonders. It's isolated from the entire world, and in that isolation many people are left to build their own ideas of the world. In some cases, people look introspectively on how their own self will affect their future. A lot of that is evident in Nadia Reid's sophomore album. Nadia Reid's ethereal Preservation is a calming and reassuring listen, moving slowly but powerful as it goes.
Preservation has an endearingly dejected sound to it throughout that really plays towards its emotion as it rolls through. It opens with title track 'Preservation,' a very pretty and soothing track that has a moody indie vocal and a cool guitar line supported by warm, cleansing chords. It's a great introduction to the album, as it presents what it represents in its rawest and undeveloped form, leaving each track thereafter to grow off of that sound. Similar tastes of solemnity like this track can be found in the sweet and moody 'Richard' and the calm 'I Come Home To You.'
This album isn't just a quiet, pretty album. There are plenty of tracks that have some edge to them. 'The Arrow and The Aim' immediately grabs on to a quicker drive than the intro track did and brings a much more "indie" sound to it, the song building more urgency as it goes, culminating to a huge end. There's a very dark side to 'Te Aro' at the end of the record, the song very bare, leaving for a lot of space to be filled by the crystalline reverberation of Reid's voice and the ghastly electronics that cry throughout the track. It becomes darker with each passing second, making it one of the most damning tracks on the record.
What's the real shining factor of Preservation is that it reveals not only a lot about yourself as you listen, but a lot about Reid. These stories and memories have to come from somewhere, and it's all from her heart. There's a way you can tell, such as the longing tone to her voice in 'Hanson St. Pt. 2 (A River)' as she tries to convince herself that she was "happy when [she] was alone" while she sings with such fondness and nostalgia. The final track on the record is optimistic in tone, but is heartbreaking to listen to, as it's about just that: a longing sense of being loved when losing someone. The male harmonies add a whole new side to the track, while the rest of it rings warmly and fondly as if the sun were setting symbolically in conjunction with the album.
Nadia Reid's new album is a brilliant example of why sometimes being separated from the world can be a great thing. My obsession with Icelandic music stems from the emptiness the country has, and how that is channeled in the music of the country but made into something entirely different and unique based on the person. Well, the same seems to be true of New Zealand. Nadia Reid's ethereal Preservation is a calming and reassuring listen, and it's definitely one to hold close whenever you need a guiding light.
Favorite Tracks: Te Aro, Preservation, Ain't Got You, The Arrow and The Aim
Least Favorite Track: Right On Time
Rating: 88 / 100
Buy or listen to Preservation here: