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Song You Need to Know: Louisa Nicklin, ‘Sleep It Off’

The Auckland-based singer-songwriter conjures an intimate live experience for the second single off her forthcoming second album

Louisa Nicklin

Zoë Dunster

Prepare to be overwhelmed – in a beautiful way – by the intimacy of Louisa Nicklin’s new single.

The Auckland-based singer-songwriter today released “Sleep It Off”, the latest taste of her forthcoming second album, The Big Sulk.

Nicklin’s latest conjures the essence of a live recording, creating an invitingly immersive experience for us listeners, aided by some stellar supporting players in Mason Fairey (drums), Eamon Edmundson-Wells (bass), Durham Fenwick (synth), and Shayne P. Carter (guitar), who also produced Nicklin’s album. (The recording was a collaborative effort, tracked live in order to preserve the spontaneity of Nicklin’s assembled backing musicians.)

“Sleep It Off” is a mesmerising mood piece, the rawness of Nicklin’s words hitting harder due to the immersion of the recording. “I was a moody child / Turbulent and anxious,” she recalls, her voice timid as eerie sounds swirl around her.

“I’m going to sleep it off / Disappointed in myself / I’m going to sleep it off / I hurt you,” she sings wearily, her words tinged with regret.

“Sleep It Off” follows “Thick”, which was included in our Best New Zealand Music of the Week roundup upon its release. “The track exudes haunting intensity, propelled by Nicklin’s captivating vocals and Shayne P. Carter’s signature guitar flair,” we wrote of “Thick”.

Both will feature on The Big Sulk, out in August. It’s the highly anticipated follow-up to her self-titled debut album, which dropped in 2021.

According to a press release, Nicklin wrote and recorded her new album with “more patience and consideration” than her previous works, with The Big Sulk set to explore Nicklin’s “relationships with people, stories of individuals within her orbit, and self-reflection.”

Aotearoa was spoiled for choice when it came to singer-songwriter albums last year – Vera Ellen’s Taite Music Prize-winning record being a prominent example – and if the rest of The Big Sulk contains the same enveloping textures and courageous lyrical honesty as its first two singles, Nicklin could have a Taite-worthy album on her hands.

To celebrate her new album, Nicklin and her full band will hit the road on a New Zealand album tour, heading to Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Wellington, before concluding with a hometown show at new Auckland venue Double Whammy (see full details below).

Louisa Nicklin’s “Sleep It Off” is out now. The Big Sulk is out Friday, August 23rd (pre-save/pre-order here). 

Louisa Nicklin New Zealand Album Tour

Tickets available via undertheradar.co.nz

September 6th
Boathouse, Nelson

September 7th
Space Academy, Christchurch

September 8th
Yours, Dunedin

September 13th
Moon, Wellington

September 20th
Double Whammy, Auckland