Katie Nicholas - Sitting Ducks
If there is one artist that #TEAMw21 are looking forward to seeing at Buckle & Boots 2023 - it is Katie Nicholas. Without doubt one of the most inventive artists on the UK scene whose work always dazzles and delights. Her song "Cabin Fever" was one of the few tunes that made Lockdown bearable - the video that went with it was exquisite, while the video explaining how the video was made was even more fascinating - she definitely is a true auteur.
It has been far too many years since we have seen her play live and that is something we are looking to remedy. If any reminder of her brilliance was needed then settle down for her latest single "Sitting Ducks" which comes with a video packed ( and we mean packed ) with images that could take months to unpick - another explanatory video would be nice!
Starting with the song, musically there is a stunning simplicity with the main attraction being Katie's recurring guitar riff, although contributions from piano and strings give this recording an additional touch of class. Katie's vocals throughout have a crisp folky feel - the opening verses are made up of short little phrases that end with a telling phrase .
Lyrically there is a feeling of being lost in life
"Who knows where I'm meant to be?" "There's so much that I'm yet to show".
That sense of frustration and being restricted filters through into other lines -
"But I'm wrapped in my casing - no I'm not even chasing all the things that I could be" where Katie sounds positively angelic.
There's a section when the frustration boils up into almost a madness after the line
"While I'm stuck in my cocoon", the violins become louder and erratic, something that is brilliantly echoed in Katies vocal delivery
The song closes on the lovely line
"Life is the alchemical gold" - always promising much yet never managing to deliver?
The video only reinforces the feeling of time passing with close ups of clocks, which via Katies guitar then seem to be ticking. It is quite simply visually sumptuous - with views shot through glass balls, there are also elements of ballet, mirror images and iKatie at times seems to mirror he insect imagery from the lyrics. It is quickly cut There are also little Easter eggs to baffle the viewer - who is the girl in the photograph?, the significance of the picture that seems to contain Katie, or the architectural plans? Watch this video twenty times and you'll probably only spot less than half of the things that Katie has precisely placed for a particular reason.
Katie at times is also definitely channelling her inner Kate Bush and for a couple of moments there is surely an homage being paid - Katie even looks like her in a few shots.
It is a little gem that deserves repeated viewing.
Sitting Ducks Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ZTKEtwUCXk
Cabin Fever video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cGj9oZQFTk
Cabin Fever Explanation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O2QqACXh3iI
In fact visit all of her videos - they are all brilliant!!!