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“Dramatic soundscape achieved” - New Zealand Herald on Sunday

“ 5 Stars (out of 5)… a voice that can squeal, whisper and roar.” - Otago Daily Times

“If you could only bottle the energy, spirit and essence of a Bat Country gig, you could sell it and make millions”- Black Magazine

“McSweeney has one of those fascinating voices that can easily slip in and out of different genres-dark and haunting on a song such as Japanese Ghost Story and equally comfortable as a lounge siren on the enchantingly tug-at-you Falling From Grace.“-Sunday News

“This debut album pairs haunting vocal melodies with sparse, carefully selected instrumentation, resulting in a collection of dark and beautiful songs with obvious cinematic undertones… the album captures an immediacy and rawness that isn’t generally found on full length albums…” Air New Zealand Kia Ora Magazine

“A ghostly hybrid of delta blues, bluegrass and alternative folk, Nina McSweeney’s debut album ‘The Bitter Sea’ effortlessly soars and grinds through the nine beautifully-crafted tracks… When McSweeney does dive head-first into the venerable history of the blues she still manages to create something authentic and original sounding…Throughout the album, she manages to never overplay her hand, showing a restrained and tasteful songwriting style that leaves the listener wanting to start the whole album over again as soon as it finishes.”- NZ Musician Magazine


Vengeful Japanese spirits met by the river like a lover, a compulsion crawling beneath the skin like an insect, and the downward pull of the ocean’s welcomed embrace. Welcome to ethereal world of Auckland songstress Nina McSweeney, and the haunting beauty of her debut album ‘The Bitter Sea’

Nina McSweeney, who is best known for her collaborations with popular drum & bass artist Concord Dawn (most notably on the track “Easy life” and again on “The River” from the NZ Music Award winning album Air Chrysalis) is a prolific and multi-faceted artist. She has performed as both a vocalist and blues harmonica player on stages local and international, including the Big Day Out, Monterey Jazz festival, Homegrown and Rhythm & Vines festivals.

‘The Bitter Sea’ was co-produced by McSweeney and Brendon Kahi and recorded at the Lab by Olly Harmer over a period of 4 days, on a budget less than a White Stripes album. In a genre which could only be described as “Creep Folk”, this collection of songs and stories have a cinematic air of intrigue about them. Drawing inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and his portrayal of “a woman lost in a fog”, these songs take some dark and unexpected twists and turns, with compelling melodies leading the listener through waves of string section improvisation and rhythms which stagger like some crazed Harryhausen stop motion creation.