Kate Nash's Girl Talk: If Britpop And Riot Grrrl Had A Baby And Its Grandma Was The Ronettes

"Is this a rap?" I thought, and then I saw that the title is Rap For Rejection so yes, it probably is a rap. That’s ok, it’s better than Debbie Harry’s effort on Rapture.
Publish date:
February 19, 2013
music, pop, riot grrrl, girl talk, grunge, kate nash, sixties girl groups, britpop, album review, indie

Truth be told, I don’t listen to much new music these days, preferring to sulk in the cosy warmth of ‘90s nostalgia, endlessly replaying Blur records and going “ahh, those were the days.”

But I was excited to be invited to the listening party for Kate Nash’s third album, Girl Talk, because a) she actually has real opinions that she’s not afraid to share and b) I’ve seen her play live with her all-girl band and it was ace.

In a room upstairs at the Colonel Fawcett pub in Camden that was filled with a mixture of press, Kate’s friends and excitable super-fans, she introduced the album, saying “I think this is my best work to date” and we settled down to listen to it in its entirety.

Like a good girl, I took notes. Prepare yourself to be subjected to my stream of consciousness scribbles where I go "it sounds a bit like X crossed with Y" a lot (this is how I review fashion shows too, which is why my reports usually go "brown trousers velvet hair". I'm sorry.

Track 1: Part HeartDreamy, Twin Peaks-y breathy, echoey vocal over thrumming bass, like girl groups of the sixties (Ronettes, Shirelles) and ‘90s grunge. Could imagine it playing at the Bronze in Buffy! Crunchy guitars kick in.

Track 2: Fri-endChanty, super cute candy pop. Kate DJ’d at the Teen Vogue party during New York Fashion Week which also happened to be Chloe Moretz’ sweet sixteen and with tracks like this, you can see why she was the perfect choice. Kenickie/Le Tigre/Sleater Kinney/Shampoo/Bis/Helen Love. Such a sense of fun, no irony, just unselfconscious shimmering pop.

Track 3: Death ProofBass, sinister pounding, rockabilly number, bit Pixies and that distinctive singing, sliding guitars. Detroit Cobras, Elastica, so refreshing to hear REAL music.

Track 4: Are You There SweetheartJust doing her thing, she’s not trying to be part of any scene or movement, and because of that, she’s suddenly the girl everyone wants to hang with. Reminds me of the chiming harmonies of the Go Gos. They should use this in an episode of Girls. Lena, can you hear me?

Track 5: SisterBit like Hole. MY FAVE.

Track 6: OMYGOD!Pixies bass and sweet little ditty on top. Adorable indie romance.

Track 7: OhKate segues seamlessly from Courtney-like screeching to angelic girl group harmonies in a couple of bars. At this point a couple of the super-fans leaped to their feet and started bopping about energetically.

You can easily see why Kate inspires such devotion in her young followers – she’s the only pop star I can think of who doesn’t strip down to her pants on magazine covers to promote her music, she sings about love, heartbreak, fun and friendship (like Taylor!), she’s honest, funny and smart, she has an all-girl band and writes her own songs. How much more inspiring could she be?

Track 8: All TalkEchoing, like The Breeders.

Track 9: Conventional GirlThis is a really good one, it reminds me of The Like at their best.

Track 10: 3AMThe first single, which you can download here.

Track 11: Rap For Rejection"Is this a rap?" I thought, and then I saw that the title is Rap For Rejection so yes, it probably is a rap. That’s ok, it’s better than Debbie Harry’s effort on Rapture. There’s something kind of groovy and French and Hammond organy about this one.

Track 12: Cherry Pickin’Vocal a bit like Karen O/YYYs.

Track 13: LabyrinthEchoing goth vocal.

Track 14: You’re So Cool, I’m So FreakySweet little ballad with acoustic guitar where you can really hear Kate’s voice.

Track 15: Lullaby For An InsomniacTotally a cappella, very intimate, bit awkward listening to it with her in the room. Stripped back, raw. Wanted to cry a bit when she sings thanks for her friends and I’m sitting here surrounded by them. Then a grand cinematic ending.

With Girl Talk, Kate Nash has distilled the best angsty female music from the last 50 years into a perfect 21st century pop record. Go buy it (when it comes out on March 4, or pre-order it from Pledge Music.)

Picture Credit: Jenny Brough