Brit winning, Artists Coalition founding, Harrow educated, obsessive compulsive, former cockney sparra wannabe and occasional actress of potty mouthed propensity, Kate Nash is all set to throw off her somewhat tiresome and inaccurate Lily Allen comparisons for good with her latest material. Having built a faithful following on solid and inspiring foundations across two albums that polarised opinion Kate has undergone something of a transformation.
Since making her mark on popular culture, Kate has diversified from the well-trodden path of many of her less creative and imaginative contemporaries. Not only has she continued to explore new musical territory herself (she has collaborated with a wide variety of differing artists including Willow Smith!) she has also encouraged others to do so with her Rock N Roll Girls after school clubs. She's also turned producer (Supercute), and part-time punk bassist (The Receders). With album number #3 (Girl Talk) now due out in March, Kate has released this 5 track EP to whet the appetite of the faithful and possibly to prepare us for what is to come.
This is not the Kate Nash of "You said I must eat so many lemons, 'cause I am so bitter. I said "I'd rather be with your friends mate, 'cause they are much fitter" which is somewhat regrettable but entirely understandable. Kate clearly doesn't want to get stuck in a rut and has made a decision that a change in direction would be no bad thing.
Re-invention, re-imagining, a reawakening or merely an invigoration can be a tricky business though. It's not often done successfully. Bowie, Cave, Costello or Albarn are not the norm. They may constantly challenge a preconceived conception of themselves and still maintain a huge following whatever their guise, format or genre through some challenging and diverse work but it's never easy and even they get it wrong occasionally.
Nash's newest material is a far cry from the ear catching cheeky urban banter that garnered her so much initial attention and plenty of chart troubling success. The new Nash is a more commanding and assertive woman that wants, and will be, taken seriously. The youthful petulance has been superseded by a worldly wise maturity which has allowed her the confidence to explore this latest avenue of artistic creativity.
Death Proof, the 5 track EP, brings together a fabulous spectrum of sounds and inspirations from 70's New York Punk, 60's psychedelia, Brit-Pop posturing and Indie exuberance that result in a free spirited, energised and explosive performance. The title track, inspired by the Tarantino film of the same name, is a fabulously fierce and frenzied flight of fancy propelled at terrific velocity through a thunderous bass line, machine gun guitars and occasional So-Cal Surf-Pop backing harmonies. The Dick Dale 'Misirlou' nod is cleverly done and the unaffected vocal is a treat. 'Fri-End?' maintains the pace and vigour of the opener with some great uninhibited vocals wrapped up in a potent package of piquant and pointedly punky pop. 'I Want A Boyfriend With A Car' completes the slightly unexpected opening trio of tracks with more ferocity and venom. This is a track just itching to be belted out live.
The penultimate track is a cover of The Kinks classic 'All Day And All Of The Night'. As if trying to pacify in part some of her earlier followers, Kate mixes her more well-known spoken vocal with that of her newer self. The mix itself is very effective with a soaring string arrangement and percussive score that nears a dance beat. Finally, Kate goes almost anti-pop as if to use her former incarnation to voice her more reflective and determined self on 'May Queen'.
In the space of five songs, Kate Nash has re-established herself in a new light. It won't sit well with everyone and some of the humour found in her earlier work is sadly missing. It may not be universally well received and she may yet alter again rather than conform to anyone's ideal but, if nothing else, it is a wonderfully vibrant and incendiary EP. There are flashes of Helen Love, Justine Frischmann, Karen O and Debbie Harry, to name but a few, within each of these individual tracks, overall though, it is the character and spirit of Kate Nash that shines through on this exciting precursor to her third album.