I first heard Nina Sundstrom when she was on backing vocal duties for Rosalind and Wounded Bear at the Crescent in York back in April. I had a brief chat with this lovely lady that night and she told me that she had an EP coming out. Well, it has been out a while and I finally got around to reviewing it and I can state categorically that it was worth the wait. Nina goes by the wonderfully clever name Writer’s Rain and the EP is called “Saccharin”. She first came to York three years ago from Bristol to study for a degree in neuroscience, so clearly, her talents stretch beyond just her innate, natural musical ability. She has worked hard playing small open mic gigs in York and all that effort has paid off with such a strong first release. If you like singer-songwriters of the classic school, like Carole King and Joni Mitchell or more modern artists like Lisa Hannigan, Lucy Rose or Feist, then you really ought to give the ‘Saccharin EP’ a spin. It took one listen to convert me into a fan of Writer’s Rain.
The songs feel simple in their construction and performance with some relatively understated instrumentation. The production is crisp and brings out the best in Nina’s voice which at times has the angelic clarity of Karen Carpenter. Her lyrics are far more mature than her age might suggest. The EP kicks off with “Interested” which I think is a put down of an overpowering, pushy, braggart of a man. The title track, “Saccharin” is, no pun intended, one of the sweetest songs here. I can also sense the young Joni Mitchell influence here in her tone and phrasing. Have you ever fell for someone because you simply both ‘clicked’? The third song on this collection “Click” is all about that and it is a beautiful tune and my wife loves it! The EP closes with “Nervous” which has a soft folky feel and is a song that wouldn’t be out of place in a Laura Marling collection and is reminiscent of Mary Hopkin at times. Click here to check out the ‘Saccharin EP’ on Spotify, if it doesn’t leave you feeling good then you need to get your head checked out!