Album review of NIIKA's Close But Not Too Close by Marc Louis-Boyard

NIIKA, Close But Not Too Close – ALBUM REVIEW #24

Albums like NIIKA’s Close But Not Too Close are the reviewer’s most disconcerting challenges. Listening to this album is like opening a treasure made of so many valuables that the whole sensorial experience is paradoxically unspeakable.

That being said, let us not use this unspeakable reality as an excuse. Pleasures of this kind, when kept, are nothing but halved in the end. 

The artist’s promise is the following:

A genre-bending, continent-crossing, soft explosion of intimate indie, soul, and dirty pop. 

Let’s see how Chicago’s vibrant scene managed to conquer our soul again, before next time, as it is usually a matter of days.

Read now, or…

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NIIKA, Close But Not Too Close, our review:

A festive, crafted signature

In a few words, the musical world of NIKKA is located somewhere between Hiatus Kaiyote‘s neosoul and tUnE-yArD‘s merry musical experiments. This do not mean that this release is deprived of identity, and far from it.

A beautiful tension lives at the core of the album, an album that is mostly festive. Think of the album as a dance duet. Passion, rejection, doubt, freedom and celebrations variably rhythm the nine tracks.

A soundtrack between childish rigor and adult vigor

Close But Not Too Close’s inherent quality is to comprise measures and segments that seem to be on the verge of collapsing gracefully. Just the way kids would collapse and keep on going a few moments after, relying on an unbreakable spirit and a playful state of mind.

This feeling is strengthened by NIIKA’s taste for accentuated vowels, supported by some of the tightest drums and percussions patterns you’ve heard this year. If the nine tracks of this album were to be the segments of a movie, they would constitute and maintain heart-stopping suspense at its best.

Portrait of NIIKA for her album Close But Not Too Close by Maren Celest
Courtesy of Maren Celest

Inviting intimacy

Lyrically and in terms of vocals, the album has worlds to offer. NIIKA’s voice is soft but affirmed, determined but carefree, exhilarated but down to earth.

These mixed but coherent impressions build a sense of trust, a sense of real, and foolish would be the listener to not take part to this artistic effort by appropriating the many worlds travelled and adding its own very special vibrations.

We were once told ‘Life is a party and the music is up to you’. For a safe, colorful and inspired ride, choose Close But Not To Close. Along the way, keep your friends close, and this album even closer.

NIIKA, Close But Not Too Close

Available now.


Written by Nika Nemirovsky.

Performances by Nika Nemirovsky, Matty Witney, Francesca Giannis, Mitch Settecase, Kellen Boersma, Lia Kohl, Macie Stewart, Sam Hyson, Jose Guadalupe Flores, and Charlie Coffeen.

Produced by Matty Witney and Nika Nemirovsky.

Engineered and Mixed by Nick Broste at Decade Music Studios and Shape Shoppe.

Mastered by Carl Saff.

Bright portrait of NIIKA for her album Close But Not Too Close by Maren Celest
Courtesy of Maren Celest

Written by  Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture

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