This page is for the long out-of-print physical version of Of Pigeons and Other Curiosities. Check this page for the Digital-only re-release.
Nicki Jaine has been described by those who love her music as "Marlene Deitrich & Nico meet Tim Burton".
"[Nicki Jaine's] voice and myth echo each other in a most profound way and you find yourself with a strange feeling, like having a spider crawling in your stomach creating a mixture of fear and eroticism. It is at once creepy and wonderful." - Origivation Magazine March 2004
"...tastefully twisted tales of life, love and all things bizarre...Nicki Jaine is thinking and performing on another plane...one of the most unique talents I have seen in years..." - The Two River Times October 2003
Nicki Jaine's music could be a soundtrack to a Roaring Twenties gothic cabaret-if there was such a thing. She is blessed/possessed with a voice which some fans describe as eerie & captivating in a Marlene Deitrich & Nico meet Tim Burton kind of way. On the surface, Jaine's songs are stark, uncluttered melodies accompanied by her beautiful, alto vocals. Just below that, lies a nightmarish flow of images involving pigeons, all-knowing octopi, animals crawling, journeys to Antartica, and beautiful disasters sung by a young woman whose chilling voice echos with a tinge of madness to it. Nicki Jaine is all of these things, and for that, we should be even more fearful for her and for the listener who happens across her new release "of pigeons and other curiosities".
Nicki Jaine's love for music began at an early age. When she was 7 years old, she won a singing competition held by various churches in her hometown of Asbury Park, New Jersey. Around this time, Nicki suffered a traumatizing experience while trick-or-treating at Bruce Springsteen's house. That fateful Halloween night marked the end of a young girl singing in churches and the beginning of the Nicki Jaine we know today.
Jaine's grandmother started her on the path of songwriting by giving her a guitar for her 14th birthday. In the years to follow, Jaine performed at open mic nights in Red Bank, New Jersey. More recently, she began playing piano and now the instrument is an integral part of her devilishly playful sound.
In 2000, Nicki Jaine moved to Philadelphia for a taste of the city life. She continued playing coffeehouses and open mic nights for the next year. In 2001, Nicki Jaine attended the Philadelphia Music Conference and meeting industry people and musicians like herself truly inspired Jaine. At that moment, she made the decision to devote her life to crafting music. Her hard work paid off and the first recognition of the new Nicki Jaine was a nomination for Best Female Solo Performer at the 2001 Asbury Park Music Awards (She was also nominated for the same award in 2002 and 2003).
In the summer of 2002, local Philadelphia goth/industrial band Carfax Abbey took notice of Nicki Jaine and invited her to open up for them at Club Nostradamus in Philadelphia. This was her first official show as well as her introduction to the goth circle. Although Jaine plays many gothic events, her music is almost non-genre, and she fits in well with many types of artists.
Nicki Jaine cast a spell on quite a few people in 2003, playing shows in the tri state area as well as along the East Coast with Ego Likeness, The Dresden Dolls, Unto Ashes, Anathema Device and Carfax Abbey. Jaine was written about in publications such as The Aquarian, The Two River Times, Songwriters Monthly, and NJCoast.com. For a young artist without any releases, that is quite an accomplishment.
By now, Nicki Jaine had assembled a full band and called them Torn Paper Dolls. The four-piece band immediately gained attention by opening for The Empire Hideous at CBGB. Torn Paper Dolls did not last long, but they did release one demo and landed several prestigious gigs, including 2 shows opening for Projekt Records' artist, Voltaire.
Now that "of pigeons and other curiosities" has been released on the new label, Shaman Records, Nicki Jaine has reached another one of her goals. Jaine is currently planning her summer performances, working on new material and, at all costs, avoiding the Springsteen residence on holidays.
Nicki Jaine is a most bewitching artist and you will fall under her spell if you not careful. And that is not a bad thing, by any means.
"Of Pigeons and Other Curiosities” is a dark cabaret of odd lyrics and sparse instrumentation. Nicki’s voice and refined lyrical approach are the focal points here and rightfully so as that is definitely the strong suit of this album. Piano and acoustic guitar are the predominate instruments, with some drums thrown in to break any monotony that may have occurred. I hate to use the word “cabaret” when describing this music but I just can’t escape it. Its part cabaret and part artsy lounge music, full of starts and stops and dark imagery reflecting life’s harsher side." - 1340mag.com
"This post-gothic vocal album from the talented Nicki Jaine balances full band arrangements ("Octopi", "Antarctica", etc.) with solo pieces ("Animals Crawling", "Sound of Girls", etc.). Her rich, deep voice suggesting mezzo and contralto territories fits excellently her dark topics on this album that lends true artistry to the gothic style." - Outsight Communications
"The dark gothic stories she tells are well worded and you can listen to her songs in the dark and have some rather vivid images indeed. Not the usual hard rock, heavy metal fare we love here but something hauntingly and provocatively different indeed." - Rocknet Webzine
"If The Dresden Dolls are a kind of twisted poppy pre-WW2 dark cabaret then Nicki Jaine is the cabaret for after the bombs have dropped and the "subversive" artistic elements are being rounded up and yet the show must go on. This is a cabaret for the broken and Jaine does a great job of using that fuel for her songs." - wildhunt.org
Nicki Jaine's deep, percise and bittersweet voice smolders under the spotlight here. Enunciating every jaded, vulnerable syllable, she is unafraid of stiffing up a little drama. Jaine accompanies herself with traipsing saloon-style piano, guitar & slinky cabaret-style rhythms. Many of her songs evoke a torch singer's air of isolation on the stage, wearing her heart on her sleeve. Knowing that everything changes and evaporates when the lights go up and the spell wears off. Darker pop songs like "Pigeon Named Crow" and "Octopi" flirt between resignation and the light at the top of the well. "Antarctica" is the most minimal and most intimidating track, building tall walls with the guitar an scaling up and down on the keys. Nicki Jaine's originality as a songwriter, along with her senses of humor and gravity, do justice to her unusual voice. 4.5 stars By: Carolee
Normally German “Cabaret” Style music is not this Web site’s cup of tea; in fact, it took 30 minutes to even hear anything that remotely resembled rock and roll music. Mostly piano and light acoustic guitar based songs dominated by painfully slow vocals, very similar to Marlene Dietrich in the mid to late 1930s, are what you get the first 7 songs on Of Pigeons And Other Curiosities. The amazing thing is they are all … amazingly good. Every God Darn one of them. Jaine has not only recaptured this genre but also made it so damn cool that you could expect college sororities to have Cabaret singing contests while drinking excessive amounts of tremendously cheap wine.
Amazing Nicki masterfully pans ultra-slow vocals like “that’s the sound of girls breaking” or “Pretty faces are a dime a dozen” with such precision, emphasis and conviction one can’t help but be impressed by its uniqueness. The clarity of her vocals also allows for imagining exactly what she is describing; pretty faces are actually prettier when sung by Jaine then they have ever been or will ever be again.
Genius lyrics like “But I’m a child and I don’t care for the things that I play with, for I’m a child and only care for what I can get away with” take the listeners back to their mischievous youths. Other great lyrics like “you're nothing short of disaster, you’re beautiful! You’re nothing short of the noise in my mind,” shine as well. Beautiful cello highlights the wonderful song entitled “Untitled.” Oh and back to the highlight song, “Antarctica.” Wow, what a ride! This song is two parts Cabaret Noir and one part metal, with the final product making you think is this song actually creating a whole new type of metal genre? If she wanted to, this song could inspire a whole new way of thinking about metal, as her new creation is something scary, smart, sexy, Goth and just damn good.
Most of the time it’s hard to find three good words to say about new material, with this album it was next to impossible to stop sprouting superlatives! This record made and initially released to huge acclaim in 2004 is now available on most Internet CD sites. If you are reading this review to find an amazing new album, then get this CD.
Guys, if you are looking at buying some background date music to add to your metal collection this is it! This album will make 99.9% of your dates think you are so much deeper than they thought. If you don’t score on the first date after they hear this CD then it’s your own weak-ass fault, ‘cause Nicki could put a dead donkey in the mood! If you buy this CD and don’t like it, then watch the entire Marlene Dietrich weekend on AMC. After that, pop it in for another run, and you’ll see its genius then, for sure. - Matthew Hoffman
From the captivating cover of this album with the introspective photos spread over a lace tablecloth with a fly as overseer, we become drawn into a body of music that begins with a scratched LP sound permeating the first track, "The Sound of Girls." And so it begins, this strangely playful yet delicate sound of cabaret girded by the deeply charismatic and Germanic voice of Nicki Jaine, sounding like a revitalized Nico.
We could call this gothic but it transcends that genre because Jaine's Of Pigeons and Other Curiosities reveals shades of the past in her music but mixed with today's more daring musical acceptance. One thing can be said, you've not heard the like of Nicki Jaine before. It takes daring bravado and talent, all of which Nicki Jaine oozes, to travel the new paths she does without fear.
But there's more. Nicki Jaine has had enough of vacuous pretensions and overflowing vanity and it resonates throughout her album of compositions. You can detect it in "Sound of Girls", you can sense it in "Pretty Faces." She also has little patience for those who cannot keep up with her and end up leaving as unveiled in "Should Have Known."
Things get heated in some areas like "Octopi", "Antartica", and "Pigeon Named Crow", delightfully so because they show an edge to Nicki Jaine's sharpness. Overall, her album of lyrical observations is direct, twisted, disappointed, and brilliant. With a schizophrenic torrent and outpour, Of Pigeons and Other Curiosities is an album that dispenses human panic and emotional shutdown like needed morphine.
Nicki Jaine is an emerging talent that caters to the musical intelligentsia of today. Her bold and lyrically observational approach to her art with raw instrumental approach is refreshing and unforgettable. With her debut release an announcement, we can expect greater things from Nicki Jaine.
Go ahead. Challenge yourself. Try Nicki Jaine out and see if you can measure up.- Matt Rowe