CD of the Week

 

KATE NASH, My Best Friend Is You, Fiction/Universal

With breakthrough single Foundations, Kate Nash had one of those magical moments: a song with a memorable narrative and an insistent melody that burrowed its way into people’s affections.

Comparisons to Lily Allen soon withered as her debut album, Made of Bricks, went platinum and showed that Nash had more to her than just one hit single. This follow-up, produced by Bernard Butler, again displays how well she observes and reflects the condition of young women today. Nash, the daughter of a Dublin nurse, can do the urban poetry thing without the need for arty abstraction or use of look-at-me imagery and metaphor. And she’s clued-in enough to realise that “female is not a genre of music”.

She kicks off here with Paris, all 1960s bubblegum hand claps and tooting horns. It’s irresistible pop music with a sarcastic twist, and it’s an approach that marks most of this album.

Kiss That Grrrlis about a boyfriend spending time with a girl “I really don’t like”, and is draped with melancholic orchestral swirls and all sorts of plans for revenge.

The standout track, Mansion Song, about groupies, begins with an X-rated monologue before morphing into a Bow Wow Wow song, while the single Do-Wah-Doois on a full-on sugar-rush pop assault in 1960s girl group fashion.

Not everything gets out of first gear: I Just Love You More,with its Pixies-meets-Television guitar riff, is a weird foray into rock that doesn’t sit easily with Nash, but when she’s back playing to her strengths with skewed pop vignettes that always carry a lyrical sucker punch, she shows some real dexterity and style. With its retro-pop feel (and despite its sardonic lyrical tone), My Best Friend Is Youis an upbeat and invigorating collection – and a considerable step up from its predecessor. katenash.co.uk

Download tracks: Paris, Mansion Song