Nicole Chambers – Voice of a Virgo

Astrology. It’s defined as ‘the study of the movements and relative positions of celestial bodies interpreted as having an influence on human affairs and the natural world’. It sounds complicated; it sounds confusing. How can the stars influence people? Jesus. Now, I’m not into astrology, as you can most likely already tell. The most I can tell you is that I’m a Scorpio. Apparently, according to my research, Scorpios and Virgos are compatible, can make good friends, and aren’t into any superficial relations.

‘Passion’ is a word that comes up a lot; but then again, it comes up for every single other zodiac that I’ve researched. According to my own Horoscope, this makes me hard-work and moody. About right, really. So, in this review, I’ll have to try and see this album through the eyes of, not my intolerant and obstinate Scorpio self, but my cheerful and kind Virgo counterpart.

Or, on second thought, why not give it a go?

As in the title, Nicole Chambers is a Virgo, born between August 23rd and September 22nd. In this record, she uses this fact as the general direction of the storytelling which takes place. She takes us on a journey of love, heartbreak, and finding her true self-worth through this moving and magical masterpiece which has been conjured, but she keeps it relatable and modern for today’s ear. She opens with slow and serene ‘Call Me Out’. This is a gorgeous start to a beautiful LP; pentatonic pianos scales act as a background for chilling vocals. It’s groovy, even with the total lack of percussion – and is short enough for the listener to be an interlude, a sort of aperitif for a rich, twelve-course meal.

She wastes no time diving in to the second addition. Upon first listen, Nicole Chambers is angry, disappointed. ‘Warm Body’ is the realisation that she is used just for company where her relationships are concerned. Strings and buttery harmonies set the heavy-hearted tone for this Neo-soul track, and I’m emotional and chilled to the bone at her ability to engage with the listener, even though her story already seems so private. ‘Caution Sign’ is her own realisation that she is a passionate lover; her Virgo zodiac apparently backs this up. I love Sol’s Jurney’s feature in this tune. She boosts the track from groovy, to RnB bop.

‘I’m Fine’ comes next – her most listened to track on her Spotify to date. It’s repetitive, soothing, but extremely telling of how Chambers puts on her front when simply asked if she’s okay. The breakdown is impeccable, and this addition to the album is a great example of brilliant production. I’m reminded of Ari Lennox in this track or the likes of RnB legend Miss Dynamite. The songs she has introduced us to on this album seem to all have a similar end goal; however, ‘Love Me, Like I Love You’ is the first instance where Chambers wishes to love herself more, changing the direction a little.

I hate to say it, but at this track, I started to get a little bored – not with her voice, or the artistically genial instrumentation, but more the subject matter. I’m not a romantic, never have been (Maybe that’s the Scorpio in me, who knows?). And I understand that the aforementioned subject matter is what is happening in Nicole Chamber’s head, so it’s important for her to include as, after all, the album is titled ‘Voice of a Virgo’. But after five songs of basically the same thing, I started to wonder if Virgos are generally very repetitive… so, I did my research in perfect, curious Scorpio fashion. And yes, they are.

The next track was a turning point for me, the obstinate Scorpio. Chambers was clever in repeating (what they do well) the same motif at the very start of the album. A palette cleanser before the main course, maybe? Just when the listener becomes slightly exhausted of love, ‘Women In Me’ brings the listener back to the understanding of why we’re here in the first place. A slight change, about half as long as the first interlude, but perfectly placed – and maybe slightly one song late of perfect timing.

‘Distance’ is Chamber’s nod to Covid-19; her inclusion of ‘social distancing’, and her own experience of distancing herself from love (surprise). It’s a happier addition to the record, and different to the usual piano pieces of the album as the instrumentation is prominently guitar and drums. ‘Come Correct’ is probably my favourite track on the record; its riff being reminiscent of Cheryl Lynn’s, ‘Got To Be Real’, although slower and less groovy. It seems as if Chambers has saved this groove for the next track, ‘Part-Time Lover’. Some A Capella, interesting use of percussion, gripping bass line, and profanities used by Chambers that give this song an edge that maybe wasn’t noticeable before. Bad-bitch, strong woman vibes from this one, for sure. ‘VIRGOS’ makes use of the spoken word, and explaining to the listener a Virgo’s traits; ‘organised’, ‘classic over-thinkers’, ‘loyal as fuck’.

Lastly, ‘Part-Time Lover’ is a goosebump-inducing track to tie in this extremely personal and vehement record by Nicole Chambers. Okay, put plainly, I love this album – but I think the second half is slightly better than the first. I think it’s a sensual and enchanting insight into Nicole Chamber’s love-filled mind. She is glorious in her attitudes to modern heart-break, even managing to crack a smile from me in ‘All Dressed Up’, a tale where Chamber’s made the effort to get ready to go out, but her man fell asleep and forgot (whoops). She’s heartfelt, raw and extremely talented in ‘Voice of a Virgo’. I am confident when I say that this is a first-class Neo-soul masterpiece – and that’s coming from a Scorpio.