Kate Nash, an Irish-born English transplant and much buzzed-about songbird, breaks absolutely no new ground on her debut album, Made of Bricks. But when her delightful pop template is super charged and her songs are revved up enough to jump out of the grooves, who cares? Made of Bricks is just her first album, after being discovered from a seven inch pressing of her single “Caroline’s Victim.” From there, the rest is all mainstream.
Given their relative ubiquity, I think people kind of take the mid-2000s English girl scene for granted these days. This is a bit of a shame, given that it’s spawning some excellent acts, particularly Lily Allen, Amy Winehouse and The Pipettes. Maybe Kate is just another girl thrown out from the same mold of canned, empowered attitude. She very well may be lumped into this genre, but she bounces out on her own twist. Kate has her own quirky observations of the world, and has an uncanny ability to put them to great little ditties.
Pay attention to the songs on Made of Bricks with piano accompaniment, such as “Skeleton song,” “Foundations,” or “Merry Happy/Little Red.” Most of these tracks are made up of contradicting themes and sounds. With a less than pleasing subject matter dealing with doubt, confusion, and crashing relationships, these songs, paradoxically, seem to be the most catchy, happy sounding, and thoughtful songs on the album.
With the talent on display with Made of Bricks, there is hope that Ms. Nash can grip and fight her way through the music world and come out ahead. She’s certainly capable of riding out the wave of trendy Neo-entitled girl rock, and, unlike some of her lesser pop peers, we won’t be saying anything so unfortunate as “She’s alright, but she’s no (fill in artist X here).”