Nicole Atkins’s songs conjure up the good old days when the world was still intact and personal heartache was the greatest catastrophe of all – before psychedelic brass sections over a countryfied soul groove lead into darker corners of the soul. The musician from New Jersey takes a traditional approach to song-writing, taking the voice as the focal point – as perfectly exemplified on her latest album Italian Ice, which features charming retro rhythms by the members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (Aretha Franklin, Etta James). Together with other musical notables, Atkins unfurls a wholesomely warm kaleidoscope of sound, which she describes as “an acid trip through my record collection”. Opulently symphonic pop stands side by side with gritty garage punk – and an out-of-tune honky-tonk piano is juxtaposed with girl-group melodramas. In short, as the singer puts it herself: “rock ’n ’roll epic”.