Review Summary: The "girl from Ash" paves her solo career with a simple, but effective release.
For better or for worse, Charlotte Hatherley may always be known as “the girl in Ash.” Her presence in the band was unique in some ways, and helped propel the band to greater popularity. The British guitarist started her solo career while still in Ash, and now continues to perform solo, as Sylver Tongue.
Grey Will Fade is the first solo album from Hatherley, the first of three before her venture as Sylver Tongue. Charlotte sang and wrote all the songs, and played guitar and bass for the tracks. It is notable that the song “Grey Will Fade” first appeared on an Ash single record.
Upon listening to this album for the first time, I noticed that nothing was particularly remarkable about it. Hatherley basically sounds like any girl singer-songwriter, playing compositions of acoustic and electric guitar. Song subject matter and lyrics are mostly typical love songs.
While there is nothing original in Grey Will Fade, the songs that make up the album are very well done, and essentially without flaws. Personally, I believe there are very few albums out there that can be listened to in their entirety, without skipping a track. Grey Will Fade seems to be the rare album that is full of solid tracks, allowing the album to be played continuously without skips.
Fans of Ash would know that Charlotte can handle a guitar. She is a fairly proficient player, and allows some songs, such as “Stop” and “Summer” to be fairly guitar-driven tracks. Opener “Kim Wilde” is a fairly up tempo track, while without being abrasive. “Paragon” has pop rock qualities with Hatherley’s singing tonalities through the track. “Summer,” a single off the record, has Charlotte singing like a country singer at times in the song, and has a pretty neat solo, with some cool guitar sounds. It also has a pretty cool music video on YouTube.
Mellower tracks often alternate with the more up tempo tracks in this album. Charlotte has a medium-deep voice in the female vocal range, allowing her slower tracks to have great depth. “Down” is a more depressing track and almost ballad like. It picks up at the bridge, but Hatherley does a good job keeping a “defeated mood” through the song. There is a good balance of low tempo and high tempo tracks.
“Bastardo” is probably the poppiest track about a Mexican stealing Charlotte’s favorite guitar after a one-night stand. A funny as it sounds, it is probably the only time a song has been written on this particular subject. And the title track “Grey Will Fade” is a nice mellow track that is both sad and confident.
1. "Kim Wilde" – 8
2. "Rescue Plan" – 8
3. "Paragon" – 8.5
4. "Summer" – 10
5. "Down" – 9.5
6. "Stop" – 7.5
7. "Where I'm Calling From" – 10
8. "Why You Wanna?" – 9
9. "Bastardo" – 9
10. "Grey Will Fade" – 10
Cohesiveness – 8.5 – The tracks blend together quite well. “Stop” is a little bit of an anomaly, but the harder edge doesn’t clash too much with the overall mellow album.
Album Cover – 9 – Good and simple. Didn’t think she had red hair during this time though.
Upshot – There is nothing special about this album. But Charlotte keeps things simple and delivers a great alternative/indie rock album. In later records, and Sylver Tongue, Charlotte is able to deliver a more unique sound. But for Grey Will Fade, the simple and consistent approach does wonders.