Review Summary: Charlotte Hatherley's second solo album will plunge the listener into a dream-like fog. A more emotional and challenging album than her first.
The second album of the Charlotte Hatherley triptych came on the heels of her departure from Ash
. Understandably, there is a bit more emotion applied to this record than her first. The added complexity and depth in these songs is evident from the start. Coupled with her new independence, Charlotte creates a rather different type of music, yet similar in its pop rock roots.
Many of the songs in The Deep Blue
are enveloped in a dreamscape of sorts, heavily layered tracks teeming with lush orchestrated sounds. Opening instrumental "Costeau" is a calm track that seems to have an undertone of sorrow that is to be foreshadowed. "Again" is one of the more commanding tracks in the album that seems to embody the sound of the record. String arrangements are interwoven with a droning guitar riff, combined with nearly every type of singing voice Charlotte can employ, from whispers to near yells.
"Behave" is another standout that might be the best song in the record. It has more of a pop feel to it lyrically and features one of the most aurally satisfying guitar riffs playing through he whole song. The song has a bit of a space rock feel that sounds like Failure
's Fantastic Planet
a bit. "Roll Over" is a track that seems to carry the emotionally dejected depths to new lows, but with a flourishing second-half.
Sprinkled in this record are some more traditional sounding tracks that fit the mold from Hatherley's first record. "I Want You To Know" and "Very Young" are such tracks. "Very Young" features some rumbling bass and drums mixed with pop vocals and is fairly short, making it stand out a bit in this record. While these tracks deviate from the otherwise mostly dreamy sounding tracks, they aren't too different to sound completely out of place. "Siberia" the album closer, reiterates some of the core themes of despair, betrayal, and moving on, capturing these themes in the music through the song.
1. Costeau - 5
2. Be Thankful - 5.5
3. I Want You to Know - 7
4. Again - 10
5. Wounded Sky - 9.5
6. Behave - 10
7. Love's Young Dream - 8.5
8. Roll Over (Let it Go) - 9
9. Very Young - 9
10. Dawn Treader - 6
11. It Isn't Over - 9.5
12. Siberia - 8.5
Hidden: Lost in Time - 8
Cohesiveness - 8 - Again, the album mostly has an ethereal, fantasy type feeling throughout. And the song lyrics, music are collectively compatible, an overall defeated feeling.
Cover Art - 7 - Charlotte appears to be drowning in a bathtub.
Upshot - An excellent collection of songs that, in my opinion, contains the best Charlotte Hatherley songs (Behave, Again). Combines Charlotte's signature funky guitar riffs with sad sounding string arrangements.
P.S. - This album is impossible to stream online (at least in the US). Services such as Spotify only have a couple tracks and some b-sides. Downloading services, even iTunes didn't have all the songs. I had to buy the CD to actually listen to all the songs.