Kate Nash belongs to that stead of female singers and
songwriters which includes eclectic-pop ingénues like Lily
Allen, Chan Marshall of Cat Power fame, and
The Grates lead vocalist Patience Hodgson. They
are alt-pop gals who are soft on the outside but have a hard candy
center. Nash's debut album Made Of Bricks, produced by
Paul Epworth (Muse, The Kills, Bloc Party),
is filled with catchy ditties that have playground fun and school-girl
hormones raging through the lyrics. Nash's music represents her
nature - youthful, vivacious, and willing to jump into the deep-end
with nothing but her faith to keep her afloat. She breaks ground
in alt-pop schematics by brandishing bluesy hues and country-folk
shades like Neko Case. Made Of Bricks has Nash's handprints
all over it, like no one else can make vocal inflections with
"Pumpkin Soup" features sunny phases in the ska-planked
horns and a cool bluesy vocal stride as Nash repeats, "I
just want your kiss, boy." The vocal overdubs create a nice
echo along the soft melodic loops which generating splashing waves
of merriment. The gypsy-cycling of the fiddle played on "Skeleton
Song" spins devilishly fast and then cools down to a relaxing
calm which circles gingerly around Nash's vocals. It's rare to
hear a fiddle played in anything other than bluegrass, but here
the fiddle sounds so natural that you wonder why more artists
don't use it. The soft-pop melody of "Nicest Thing"
is reflective as Nash plaintively intones, "You're the nicest
thing I've seen/ I wish that we could give it a go/ See if we
could be something/ I wish I was your favorite girl/ I wish as
though I was the reason you are in the world/ I wish my smile
was your favorite kind of smile/ I wish that the way I dressed
was your favorite kind of style
I wish you'd hold my hand
when I was upset." This is one the more serious tracks on
the album, while many of the others are kitschy like "Shit
The tapping keyboards of "Merry Happy" have a puppet
show flounce in their prance, making the tune sound like a nursery
rhyme with the jangly tempo and the rhythmic saunter of Nash's
vocals. The album is top-heavy in jangly movements and playful
sprints like in the catchy finger-snaps braiding through "Foundations."
The chord movements illuminate Nash's voice, placing the key focus
on her vocal inflections, which have an uninhibited candidness.
It's not the kind that means to hurt, just means to be starkly
bare. The quick tempo in the piano vamp and guitar rolls of "Mouthwash"
are cheerfully light-footed, while the bluesy jazz bass lines
and torchlight embers in the vocal melody of "Dickhead"
have a soft savory sway that makes your body move along to the
grooves. The country-folk shades of the guitars on "Birds"
are reposing with gently blown arcs, and the treatments on "Mariella"
and "We Get On" fuse traditional commercial pop jingles
lassoed in springy vocals which produce an eclectic amalgam in
Made Of Bricks straddles the line between eclectic and
traditional commercial pop like the type of music you'll hear
in the commercials for Old Navy stores. Kate Nash is an ingénue
from London, England whose pulsating vocals and alt-pop melodies
are in vogue on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Her songs show
her to be her own person while also embracing the music scene
around her, and making her own mark on it.
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