Pure Frustration, the follow up EP to 2019’s ROSES, cements NANI’s position as one of Edinburgh’s most intoxicating rising stars. The Austrian singer-songwriter has been making waves in Scotland’s music scene over the last couple of years since her arrival at the University of Edinburgh coincided with the decision to push forward with making her own material. The Herald ranked her hit ‘Control’ in the top 25 tunes from Scotland in 2019. NANI has developed a loyal following of admirers who have been drawn to her groovy live shows and have connected with her music’ deeply personal nature. Most importantly, as she told Loaf Magazine earlier this year, people have been able to find something in the songs to make them their own.
The new EP feels like a body of work that truly belongs together both thematically and sonically, dazzling its listeners from the opening chords. The title track is a song worthy of giving its name to the record, an enchanting opening song that builds to a beautiful guitar solo. NANI admits ‘this is the seventh time that I’ve spoken in vain’ (in the seventh song of her discography), alluding to the frustration that compels her to express her feelings in her music. The lyrics strike a chord with anyone who, as NANI has put it, ‘find the world extremely f****** annoying’.
The record has certainly benefited from a high-quality production. Sonically it feels mature, refined and slick. In September NANI launched a Kickstarter to help with the finances of mixing and mastering the EP, offering a range of rewards to those who pledged money. The target of £500 was surpassed and more than doubled, a testament to the affection with which NANI is held by her supporters and the great demand for the arrival of her new music.
A personal highlight of the album is ‘Message Deleted’, which feels like the musical epitome of millennial angst. ‘It’s been a while since you said goodbye and left me on read’, NANI bemoans. The song has a swagger about it, that only comes from an artist assured in what she brings to the table. ‘Sunshine’ is the feel-good bop of the record, following the wistful answering phone message left in ‘Message Deleted’ by the self-confident reality in which ‘my baby knows that she don’t owe me a dollar’.
The theme of ‘pure frustration’ comes to a head in the closing song. NANI admits ‘I’ve been lying to you. I am not doing fine. My head keeps spinning, my ears are ringing, I think I might be going blind’. Her voice, a tender constant of the record, momentarily runs course in a powerful bridge that comes to an impassioned crescendo. NANI’s fans have been treated with ‘Pure Frustration’ to a gem of an EP, from an artist who is honing her skills with each piece of music she releases, and she’s only getting better.