Nash is at her best when she combines her strongest suits, humour and vulnerability.
Johnny Sharp 2010
It can’t be easy going out with a rock star. It certainly doesn’t seem to have done Kate Nash any favours. If you jump to the obvious conclusion from the unsisterly thoughts and romantic jealousy running through several songs on this second album, she’s had a hard time dealing with the attention lavished on her boyfriend, Cribs singer Ryan Jarman. Such songs may not be autobiographical, but people do talk, don’t they? And those people have also, rather patronisingly, suggested her celebrity beau has had an influence on her songwriting. Would they say the same if she was a man going out with a female musician?
Whatever the origins of this follow up to her 2007 debut Made of Bricks, its lyrical approach might leave a slightly sour taste in the mouth of those of you who aren’t a rather insecure teenage girl. Meanwhile, any listeners who prefer song words wrapped in vaguely poetic decoration might wince at Do-Wah-Doo’s observation that “Everyone thinks she’s a bit of alright but I think that she’s not so nice / Everyone thinks that she’s a lady, but I don’t – I think that girl’s shady.”
She has every right to vent some spleen but when she sneeringly adopts the persona of a groupie on the spoken-word Mansion Song, the fifth form poetry and am-dram delivery are likely to be wince-inducing to those of you who no longer get asked for ID in pubs. “I read Glamour and the Guardian,” spits the object of her ire, “I like flowers and I’m hardy an’… I take cocaine...” Ouch.
She’s better when she combines her strongest suits, humour and vulnerability, as on Kiss That Grrrl’s amusingly delusional observations: “I bet she doesn’t like to eat / I bet her feet don’t even stink.” The hit-and-miss nature of her words wouldn’t be so noticeable if the music was more of a distraction. But the skittering sub-Motown fare accompanying much of this album fails to muster a chorus worth savouring.
The gently melodic I’ve Got a Secret, the sweetly meandering Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt and the slow-building, punky psychosis of I Just Love You More benefit from sounding way more original, but ultimately they’re not enough to save a distinctly disappointing album.