Review: Kate Nash – Girl Talk
Published on March 15th, 2013 | Jonny Abrams
Despite our immense cynicism as to the very notion of it, the ‘indie credibility’ transplant administered unto Kate Nash has been partially successful: she’s got the exuberance and streetwise streak to just about pull if off, but Girl Talk is too often hoisted by its own petard.
Fair play to Nash for leaving Fiction Records upon their insistence that she remove the album’s “punky elements”, but the Pixies + C86 schtick, otherwise well executed, falls a bit flat when juxtaposed by the sort of brattish schoolgirl yelps we were expecting (“It doesn’t matter how loud I play my music / I still feel the same”)
“Fri-end?” is infuriatingly simplistic garage-rock, to the extent that you can almost hear those colours being nailed to the mast. The middle eight whips out that “Be My Baby” drum fill that someone somewhere has decreed must appear at least once on every modern rock album, and then “Death Proof” further discourages by riding a bass line that could conceivably have been written by a five-year-old.
Oddly enough, “Death Proof” goes on to acquire a dreaminess that carries on into “Are You There Sweetheart?”, although that one fluffs it a bit by outstaying its welcome, at least if Rocksucker’s inner monologue of “has it started again? Oh no, it’s still going” is anything to go by. “Oh” is affecting, its rumbling rhythm section underpinning a strikingly somber self-examination that bodes well for Nash should she ever deign to shed her Lily Allen side.
This is an ‘almost’ album: “Rap for Rejection” is a surprisingly good idea marred by excessive applications of the aforementioned brattishness, “You’re So Cool, I’m So Freaky” elevates a cutesy sing-song strum with an endearingly sloppy group vocal, while “Lullaby for an Insomniac” has us wondering whether her melodic unadventurousness is ideally suited or anathema to this kind of a capella closer. It ends with an unexpected orchestral section, so we’re inclined to give it the benefit of the doubt.
Girl Talk is a bold if not entirely convincing play for the Pitchfork crowd, but if it all somehow ends with a Katy Perry fan deciding to investigate Surfer Rosa then it can only have been worth it.
Rocksucker says: Two and a Half Quails out of Five!
Girl Talk is out now on Have 10p Records. For more information, please visit myignorantyouth.com