Kate Nash
Made of Bricks


3.0
good

Review

by Nick Butler EMERITUS
August 28th, 2007 | 37 replies | 15,499 views


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A good, if confusing debut from the UK's most cherished new talent.

Few marketing campaigns have been as blatantly obvious in recent years as the one surrounding Kate Nash. Following the success, both critical and commercial, of Lily Allen, the woman herself earned plenty of column inches and television coverage, becoming something of a style icon and an embassador for young British musicians in the process; and yet she couldn't fully escape criticism that had dogged her since day one. Naturally, her famous father encouraged people to suggest that she hadn't actually had to work all that hard to get where she was, while her appearance and demeanour meant that she had to suffer the quasi-racism of being constantly labelled a chav. Others combined these two ideas and decided to criticize Allen's persona as pure fabrication.

So what people needed was a new Lily Allen. Somebody who went through the same kind of discovery on MySpace. Somebody without any connection to other celebrities. Somebody who was capable of both singing in Allen's unmistakable London accent and in a more 'normal' manner if the mood took her. Somebody that the record labels could market as a 'real musician', capable of at least bashing out three chords on a guitar or piano. Perhaps somebody with a more conventional look, too. Viola! Kate Nash appears. It's the Lily Allen for people who take themselves too seriously to enjoy Lily Allen!

In fairness, Kate Nash is probably good enough to have made it without Lily Allen breaking the commercial ground for her, but the circumstances make it impossible not to compare the two. Polydor have made it so obvious that they think they've signed their own Lily Allen that the two names, for now at least, are solidly connected. Still, neither seems to mind too much, Allen having gone on record in support of Nash's music.

There are certainly key differences in their music, though. Made of Bricks, underneath the colloquialisms, quirks, and electro glitches, is an album cut from the classic singer-songwriter tradition. The surprise UK #1 "Foundations" is proof enough of that - the pain of disinegrating relationships is well-trodden territory for the genre. What sets Nash apart is her bitter sense of humour in the face of everything, her description of taunting her boyfriend with the line 'Yeah, I'd rather be with your friends mate, because they're all much fitter' raising a smile even as the chorus sneaks its way into your psyche. It's easy to miss just how touching this song is the first few times you hear it, but eventually it gets it claws in and won't let go. That's also the case with the album's best song, "Birds", which is both an undoubtedly sincere, beautiful love song, and a moment of unbridled hilarity. Just check the chorus, as Nash's love interest tries to explain his feelings.

Quote:
Right, birds can fly so high
And they can *** on your head
Yeah they can almost fly into your eye
And make you feel well scared
But when you look at them
And you see that they're beautiful
That's how I feel about you
Yeah, that's how i feel about you
Nash's character, naturally, responds with an incredulous 'What are you talking about?' If anybody comes up with anything more genius/retarded than this song in 2007, it'll have been the best year ever for slapstick.

After the rather good "We Get On", we get "Mariella", which makes it three great songs on Made of Bricks. Like a lot of the songs here, it displays Nash's willingness to play about with the structure of her songs. The storytelling here turns away from typical subject matter to tell the story of an antisocial, possibly autistic child - the material here makes it the only point where Nash's reported infatuation with Regina Spektor bears fruit (with the arguable exception of the novelty "Skeleton Song"). And yet, she weaves Spektor's quirky beauty into her own style, dropping into one and out of the other with ease as the song constantly builds and builds to its frenetic conclusion. It's excellent.

Still, for all its strengths, this album smacks of amateurism throughout, as if it was knocked together in a rush by a team of people who were more interested in the deadline than the product. The album would be much better served by jumping straight into "Foundations" than wasting time with "Play", a lazy track containing absolutely nothing of note. Tracks like "Mouthwash", while certainly not bad, feel like they weren't properly thought out, with the cultural references feeling less natural than they should. The lighty soulful "Dickhead" and the electropop styled "*** Song" both could have been highlights, but it feels like there's no substance to them, with Nash clearly resorting to swearing for humour. And why were "Nicest Thing" and "Merry Happy", both very good songs, buried at the end of the album? The amatuerism even feeds into the song titles - is there really any need to have three songs back to back bearing the titles "*** Song", "Pumpkin Song", and "Skeleton Song"? It's slightly jarring, and sad when you consider that apart from "Play", there actually aren't any bad songs here, just decent songs lacking the execution and attention they deserve.

This could well have been a much better album than it is. Still, there's enough here to indicate that Nash's obvious natural flair for songwriting will blossom, and that her fearless voice will only get better with experience. I'm completely confident in predicting that her next album will be a big step forward from this.



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Kate Nash's Made of Bricks is a good - but confusing - debut....


Comments:Add a Comment 
The Jungler
August 28th 2007



4827 Comments


Alright, Still is a really great CD, but I don't know how excited I can get for an imitation. I might listen to a few tracks and she how I like it. Great review, as usual.

Iai
Emeritus
August 28th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

She's not an imitation, really - it's only her voice that's spookily similar, although Nash's is slightly sweeter. It's just the fact that all the marketing and the hype has basically done nothing but talk about Lily Allen.

Which is now something I'm guilty of as well, I guess.

lunchforthesky
August 28th 2007



1039 Comments


Very nice review.

This isn't really my thing though.

TheStarclassicTreatment
August 28th 2007



2910 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Kate Nash is terrible.
Truly godawful

Iai
Emeritus
August 28th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

valuableinput.com

Kiran
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



6001 Comments


Good review.

I've heard 'Foundations' off a friends iPod and it isn't really my style. The whole 'talking with rhythm' thing just never appealed to me.

If I wasn't that much into Foundations, does it mean the rest of the album is a no-go for me? Keep in mind, I'm pretty open to most music. My library contains everything from The Arctic Monkeys to Burzum.

On the Brit scene note, anyone heard of Jamie T?

Digging: Spoon - They Want My Soul

Iai
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I dunno....she mixes things up quite a bit with her voice, dropping in and out of singing and talking all the time. Give "Birds" a shot, I guess, see if that floats your boat.

I'm not a Jamie T fan tbh.

Neoteric
August 29th 2007



3243 Comments


Kate Nash is awesome.

Iai
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Rate the album then! It's no classic but 2 is WAY too low an average score.

Kyle
August 29th 2007



667 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love it...

Mikesn
Emeritus
August 29th 2007



3709 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Good album and review.

smokersdieyounger
September 4th 2007



672 Comments


Wanna get this, but I'll wait on the next single to decide

Iai
Emeritus
September 4th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I actually have no idea what the next single will be. I imagine "We Get On" is a good bet...."Mariella" is a bit too frantic, and most of the other good songs have too many things that would need to be censored.

burton.and.gas
September 8th 2007



641 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

For a change the one thing i didn't mind here is kate nash's voice, in general the 6 tracks i've heard from this album are a bit dull. We all know i hate britishness music, so i won't get into that again, i'm beocming predictable. However, i think this is overhyped and awful.

AtavanHalen
September 9th 2007



17927 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Kate Nash is gorgeous. I really love Foundations.

Neoteric
September 14th 2007



3243 Comments


I have a major crush on Kate Nash now. I like the fact that proper pop music is in the charts now instead of that whole manufactured idea.

Iai
Emeritus
September 16th 2007



3553 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

"Britishness music" is such a dumb sounding phrase.

smokersdieyounger
September 26th 2007



672 Comments


only a seppo could come up with something like that

plane
Staff Reviewer
September 26th 2007



6092 Comments


*britishimacy

ljt726
February 3rd 2008



6 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I love her voice but the CD isn't awesome. However there are some good songs. I personally love foundations



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