On the opening track of Guelph-based country band Nicolette & The Nobodies’ debut LP Devil’s Run, bandleader Nicolette Hoang sings: “What you’re running from can’t be run from.” It’s a sentiment that is at the heart of Devil’s Run. Over eight tracks, Hoang, flanked by Softside’s Ian Bain (guitar), Nicole Gulewitsch (Drums), Emma Howarth-Withers (Bass), and Daniel Paillé (Guitar), confronts her emotions — those of love and pain. Hoang is in a western showdown with her feelings.
On “Ride or Die,” Hoang knows exactly what she wants and now needs answers from another party: “Are we moving or just burning gas?” she asks with a touch of annoyance. On the boot-stomping album highlight “Roses,” Nicolette & The Nobodies fly through anthemic verses of autonomy and self-love which capture how great it feels to leave behind a bad relationship. By album closer “Boo Hiss,” love flourishes like sweet cherry blossoms do each spring. Hoang sings about finding love at a basement show and her journey towards calling Guelph home. Even the cynics will be warmed by this love song.
Devil’s Run is a dusty outlaw country recording that arrives right in the thick of yee-haw mania. Hoang’s beguiling voice warbles and twangs, transporting you to a farm where a couple hundred head of cattle graze lazily in a field. A whistled melody reminiscent of the classic The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly theme tumbles in the backdrop of “Bites the Dust” as a shaker sounding like the tail of a rattlesnake shivers to kick-off the album. But Nicolette & The Nobodies’ songs don’t feel like hollow attempts to capitalize on a trend — Devil’s Run has been crafted with a love of country music.