en: Made of Bricks [info]
It would be very easy to dislike Kate Nash's Made Of Bricks. The debut album of a wannabe stage school girl who only turned to music to keep herself amused while recovering from a broken foot has disaster written all over it. Throw in her begging-to-be-mocked scenester anthem and first single "Caroline's A Victim" plus the 'Lily Allen's MySpace friend' tag, and the house that Kate built would appear to rest on very shaky foundations indeed.
However any fears are somewhat unfounded. For a 20-year-old, Nash has constructed an album of surprising verve and variety. Whether breaking into spoken word over beats on opener "Play" or, displaying her dainty side on the jaunty piano-driven "We Get On", she displays a unique tone and style. Let's be honest, it's all delivered in a singing voice that would hardly charm sailors to their death but no matter, it's Nash's lyrics which take precedent here.
At times her honesty and self deprecation are startling and her words bristle with the intimacy of a private diary entry. Whether the tortured secret longing of "Nicest Thing" – 'I wish I was your favourite girl/ I wish you thought I was the reason you are in the world' or literally laying herself bare on "Mouthwash" – it's a revealing ride.
However, at times Kate's simplistic soul baring is also her undoing, especially when it slips into the mundane territory of making tea. The same colloquial style that makes her charming can also make her somewhat dull and a propensity to swear at every turn occasionally breaks the spell.
Nash is to be praised for using Regina Spektor's piano riffing and vocal eccentricity as her template and combined with Paul Epworth's fine production ear, she's constructed an album which despite its flaws is one of this year's more interesting offerings.