Girl Trouble

Kate Nash goes heavier on rock than her usual pop in her new album Girl Talk

Written by Pallavi Pundir | Published: March 30, 2013 3:02:35 am

Girl Talk

Kate Nash

Have 10p Records/Fontana

$7.99 on Amazon

Rating: HHHHn

Sure,our tastes are defiantly stranded in the female pop-rock bracket of western music — Florence and the Machine,Regina Spektor and Fiona Apple among others. The music is defiant and vocals extraordinaire.

And British musician Kate Nash was an obvious darling. We were exposed,in our teens,to her writhing vocals and feminist riot girl ethos in her first two albums — Made of Bricks (2007) and My Best Friend is You (2010). The first thing that strikes an ardent lover of Nash’s pop shenanigans is how her latest album Girl Talk is radically different from the others.

Nash’s fame goes back to 2005 when she broke out on MySpace.com and her first album was a huge commercial hit year. Girl Talk,despite not being Nash’s signature,is that unexpected thrill. The very first song Part Heart sets the mood for the whole album. The musician is in a dark place here– personal and intimate,slow yet steady,equipped with heavy bass,wondrously rock and clipped lyrics clearly about a breakup (A part heart is living/ A part heart is dead/ And the part of my heart/You used to love,it fled).

Fri-end is a playful twist,almost waking one up from the slumber the first song had. Sister goes back to the dark side initially,but then almost immediately jumps to a bipolar high,rife with her throaty voice. OMYGOD! is a similar flux,from slow and steady to danceable chord progression,a refreshing piece in a line-up of otherwise grey shades. Labyrinth is a brilliant one in this grey area with an Alfred Hitchcock background score-ish tune in the beginning,ominous chimes and single drum beats,easily progressing with succinct lyrics and low-key vocals.

All Talk sounds angry with a repetitive Action,action,action/ Words are only in my mouth,an apt mnemonic to her feminist outbursts. Rap for Rejection,on the other hand,is exactly what it says — it’s a rap,on the issues of sexism.

It’s disappointing how little thought has gone into the lyrics (You’re trying to tell me sexism doesn’t exist?/ If it doesn’t,then what the **** is this?),but the banality is made up for by grungy electric guitar and a monotonous yet husky vocals,which goes smoothly with hipster beats.

Pieces such as You’re So Cool,I’m so Freaky and Lullaby for an Insomniac are rare examples of an unfussy Nash,where instruments are next to nothing and her sweet voice looms.

While the former is almost anthematic with chorus,the latter has no instruments,and she sounds like she’s merely singing an insomniac self to sleep. The final number Death Proof is an unforgettable one,because the garage rock number is all noir and haze,and harps back to the Quentin Tarantino’s 2007 film of the same name about a psychopathic killer. The album demands more than one listen,rightly so.

Listen to her if the defiance of Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus feels viscerally frivolous.

Her feminist banter might get too much,but she has grown up,even though it is a rather melancholic-goth kind of growth.

pallavi.pundir@expressindia.com

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