Published: Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, March 13, 2013 00:03
The latest from former fun pop musician Kate Nash, Girl Talk, experiments with riot grrrl grit.
When Nash wrote and recorded “Under-estimate The Girl”—in a day, no less—last June, it looked a bit like she had gone off the deep end. Though 2010’s My Best Friend Is You was heavier than Made Of Bricks, no one expected the sardonic English songstress to ditch her piano for a driving bass guitar right out of a Joy Division song, accompanying an atonal bark.
This jump into punk rock forms the soundscape of Girl Talk, while the songs are both sweet and spicy. “Part Heart,” with a driving bass lick and a shimmering guitar loaded with a stuttering vibrato effect, sets the standard for most of Girl Talk. Nash’s voice is both cool and authoritative, often double-tracked for a raw, sharp texture.
The lyrics run the gamut of topics, from a feminist rap-rant to self absorbed friends to Tarantino’s Death Proof. They aren’t flashy or complex but they know what they are; Nash is never short on honesty.
The last three songs are more introspective. “You’re So Cool, I’m So Freaky” is a bitter, self-deprecating campfire tune with production so lo-fi and strange it has to be heard. “Lullaby For An Insomniac” is sung a cappella. “I think about all of my good friends/and I wish them the best/I take comfort in knowing I have them” leads to a magnificent orchestral flourish out of nowhere.
Girl Talk is a fun, strange album that’s never short on sass and bold decisions, and hopefully might encourage more singer/songwriters to crank the volume once in a while.