Nikki Lane

All or Nothin’

BY Stuart HendersonPublished May 5, 2014

"It's always the right time," recommends alt-Nashville rocker Nikki Lane, "to do the wrong thing." On this record full of stories about what happens when you follow this kind of advice, Lane serves as a pretty dynamite guide through the broken hearts and bottles that litter the ground. Her '60s girl-group delivery is a natural fit for the kind of soulful garage rock production brought to the table by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach (who, apparently, is producing pretty much everything made by everyone these days?). His well-known affinity for analog engineering and classic song structure serves this material beautifully; standout tracks like "You Can't Talk To Me Like That" and "Man Up" pull off the feat of sounding simultaneously fresh and ancient, surely the target Auerbach and Lane were aiming for.

A feel-good record about feeling bad — iffy one night stands, bad breakups, and raging hangovers are the leaves on Nikki Lane's tree — All or Nothin' (like Lydia Loveless' outstanding Somewhere Else back in February) suggests yet another trajectory for what we once called "Outlaw Country." On the album's very best track, the straight-up provocation of "Sleep With A Stranger," Lane struts like Jagger as she admonishes a conquest that "you can call me anything you want to, just don't call me after tonight." This is tough-talking, hard-living stuff, but it's been infused with a welcome dose of 21st century sexual politics. Ignore this one at your peril — Nikki Lane's looking right at you.
(New West)

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