I had so much hope for Nicole Atkins‘ ‘Mondo Amore‘ after seeing the front cover which to me implied a dark country sound. Opening song ‘Vultures‘ starts slow and solumly with the brooding bass melody providing the rhythm alongside the simple kick drum melody before the vocal drenched na na’s of the chorus kick in wonderfully with Nicole Atkins providing a Florence And The Machine-esque vocal performance, if only Florence had more balls and rock in her, ‘Vultures‘ is full of attitude and a lesson to any musician as to how to start an album. ‘Hotel Plaster‘ slows things down in a Dolly Parton country way based on a simple piano melody and Nicole Atkins warm and soulful voice which often could be confused to sound slightly like Katie Melua but in a good way. Lyrically the song tackles the usual subject of love but it is so well written that I can’t use that as an excuse to dislike the song, especially when it contains the line “My pain could learn to play the violin but it might not bring you back….at least we’d have a pretty soundtrack“. Sadly aside from these two tracks, the soul sound of ‘Cry Cry Cry‘ and the rebel rousing sound of blues number ‘My Baby Don’t Lie‘, it is all very much by the numbers, concentating too often towards the end of the album on the slower and more contemplative sound of Nicole Atkins which is a massive shame because this album is really at its best when its unashamedly foot to the pedal, all out drunken southern pub sounding and had it been more like this I would have been awarding a four rather than a two point five.