When Kate Nash first appeared with Made of Bricks (QRO review), she was considered a Lily Allen retread, but she’s grown into much more (and where is Lily Allen these days?…). Follow-up My Best Friend Is You (QRO review) expanded her sound, but it’s only been with her leaving her major label and raising money through PledgeMusic for her next LP that she truly grew. End of last year she indicated a garage direction with Deathproof EP (QRO review), and has nicely combined both garage and pop on Girl Talk – but with her own twist.
One thing that hasn’t changed about Kate Nash is that she still sings a lot about break-ups and other sad/angry subjects – but often does it with a smile, at least when sad. There’s a sweet-dark undercurrent to “Are You There Sweetheart?” and a mix of sweet-relax & sweet-bop on break-up song “OMYGOD!”. And there are Nash’s angry songs, like the slow march into evocative anger opener “Part Heart” or her strong rockin’ cry of frustration with her “Sister”. There’s even her requisite girl-power rap, “Rap for Rejection”, which, while still a little preachy, is far better & catchier than her Best Friend spoken word “Mansion Song”.
But the main addition to Girl Talk is her garage-rock. Perhaps because the album was recorded faster and for less money, Nash goes lo-fi and road at times. There’s the catchy garage of “Fri-End?” and dark road in “Death Proof” (both from the EP of the same name), but also a road-push to “All Talk” that evokes classic Breeders (QRO live review) at times, and the garage-road fuzz to “Cherry Pickin’”. But Talk isn’t all fuzz (at fifteen tracks, the record is big enough to contain a lot), as there’s also the low-key sway “Oh” (featuring Siobhan Malhotra), slow & soft “Labyrinth”, acoustic sad sing-along “You’re So Cool, I’m So Freaky”, and just sad solo voice (with grand orchestra close) “Lullaby for an Insomniac”. The last three of those tracks are the last three on the album, and are a bit of an odd way to end it (especially with the massive close to the otherwise restrained “Lullaby”).
Kate Nash has nicely grown from cheery pop into something more – without losing what brought her to you in the first place, just adding to it. And if she still sings a lot about break-ups, well, that’s worked for Adele (QRO live review) & Taylor Swift (QRO photos), hasn’t it? More importantly, would all break-up songs be as skilled as these.