Design By Humans
Published On: Wed, Mar 19th, 2014

Nina Nesbitt: Peroxide

nina nNina Nesbitt
(Universal Music Group)

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Scottish singer/songwriter Nina Nesbitt is no slouch. Though she’s still a teenager, she’s released several EPs and now her debut album, Peroxide. She’s quite talented for her age, with just the right mix of pop grounded in folk and acoustic sensibility.

Many of the songs are drawn from the personal experiences you’d imagine a teenage girl to write about—heartbreak, flirtation, the pressures of growing up. “Mr C” is a catchy, clever takedown of men who buy strangers a drink and think they deserve sex in return, while “Stay Out” jeers the sorts of people encountered on a night out.

However, there are times when Nesbitt’s writing has not caught up with her musical talent. “Selfies” attempts to justify the habit of oversharing by claiming that the photos are to feel better about herself, not to be vain, but the argument falls flat with how many times she repeats, “Taking pictures of myself.” I enjoyed the frankness of “Two Worlds Away” until the reductive lines, “But ‘friend’ ends in ‘end’ and ‘love’ is almost ‘lose.’”

For all the faults here, Nesbitt is certainly talented, and there are sparks of true promise here. She is probably at her best when she is at her most vulnerable rather than trying to be clever. “The Hardest Part,” the album closer, is stripped-back, plaintive, and flits between a tortured whisper and notes that strain until they’re nearly out of key. I’d love to hear more of Nesbitt’s heart on her sleeve, no Instagram filters or bleached hair required.

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Nina Nesbitt: Peroxide