Kate Nash - My Best Friend Is You

Let's just be thankful she hasn't 'gone dance', alright?

Much of the early press surrounding the follow up to Made Of Bricks suggested Kate Nash had ditched her dresses for dungarees. A preview track, the slightly underwhelming 'I Just Love You More' hinted at some time spent in the company of Babes In Toyland or Pod but didn't bode terribly well for the album proper. On playback, it becomes apparent the hype has been inevitably overblown - with one or two notable exceptions. The most divisive track is likely to be 'Mansion Song', a foul-mouthed rant straight out of the Huggy Bear handbook that, in the context of the follow up to a number one album is either extremely brave, foolhardy, naive - or a combination of all the above. This unsettlingly explicit diatribe against groupie culture is more Lydia Lunch than Pam Ayres and will see the seizure rates from teen bedrooms exceed those of the last bags of miaow. Does The Mail still deign to cover the latest beat sounds? Watch the shit hit the fan.

As for the rest, well, for those who fell under the spell of her debut - despite its shortcomings - this still has enough breezy pop moments to soundtrack the better weather, with Bernard Butler's production bringing no little amount of style to Nash's Victoria Wood narratives. Opener 'Paris' with its waterfall piano and thrilling strings should be all over summer radio, while 'Kiss That Grrrl' and 'Do-Wah-Doo' pick up the girl-group baton so hamfistedly dropped on the forthcoming Pipettes album, with Butler instinctively hammering the big, big choruses for maximum impact. With the addition of some more muscular percussion, My Best Friend ... includes several bonafide bedroom dancers - and who would've thought that 18 months ago?

'Take Me To A Higher Plane' adds Dexys-like strings to a lost Kenickie shouter, while 'I've Got A Secret' revisits the dirty guitar of '... Love You More' to better effect, cranking up the reverb for an intriguing attempt at gothic grunge. The lyrical howlers are still in full effect ("Barbeque food is good / You invite me out to eat it" - 'Don't You Want To Share The Guilt) but you soon forget them as the momentum builds to a sweet crescendo that's as near to Aiden Moffat as a 22 year old London-er is likely to get as this point.

There are plenty who find Nash annoying, mostly the same old voices who sneer at her association with The Cribs' Ryan Jarman, suspecting his hand in her latest venture. Truth be told, there's still a sediment of critical and wider opinion that prefers its young women to be quiet and doe-like, or at best flouncy. Nash can be clumsy ("I hate it when I fall over" - 'Seagulls'), earnest and wide-eyed ("I want to see that race with all bicycles in France" - (' ...Guilt') and it's just incredibly entertaining. Fuck 'em. You go, girl.



out of 10
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