CD Review

Kate Nash's debut album, Made of Bricks, was released in the U.K. last summer, and she became an overnight sensation, with both the CD and single “Foundations” going to No. 1. The 20-year-old from a London suburb pals around with Lily Allen, to whom she's frequently compared because of her radio-ready tracks and cheeky manner.

Will Nash conquer America? The early signs are bad, as Pitchfork gave Made of Bricks a dismal 5.5 rating, calling it a “rushed, glossed-over misfire” and deriding producer Paul Epworth's experimentations. There is some truth in that critique. The album is practically schizophrenic in the way it jumps genres. The electroclash throwaway “Play” leads off the album, ahead of the whimsical sing-along “Mouthwash” and the epic, almost-Gothic “Mariella.”

But criticizing the production misses the point. Nash is a phenomenal talent who seems able to imagine riffs as easily as she snaps her fingers. She has the ability to channel any number of personas in her music—from bratty preteen to daydreaming teenager to disenchanted adult. She also has a gift for pointed observations that don't slow her narratives. “Thursday night, everything's fine, except you've got that look in your eye when I'm telling a story and you find it boring. You're thinking of something to say,” begins “Foundations,” with the chorus adding, “My fingertips are holding onto the cracks in our foundation, and I know that I should let go but I can't.”

Though she talks tough like Allen—”I wish that you were more intelligent so you could see that what you are doing is so shitty to me,” she says on “Dickhead”—her lines ultimately betray more vulnerability and immaturity than her countrywoman's. But that's not a bad thing. Instead, one looks forward to the development of her art as she gets older.

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