Charlotte Hatherley – New Worlds

A top LP, beautifully crafted and brimful of intelligence. And, just like everything the Lady Hath has done, ensure you get it.

 

http://www.myspace.com/charlottehatherleyofficial http://www.munichrecords.com
 

A fine album this, a worthy example of her talent and pop-rock sensibilities, and frankly every Hipster worth their salt should possess a copy. Whether they do is a moot point; it could be that Charlotte Hatherley, merely by virtue of being true to her muse, is going to become a (very) groovy sentinel on pop’s borderlands.

 

There’s something very tough about Hatherley’s song writing; very male and hard-headed, and despite the fact that great chunks of these lyrical content refer to relationships of one sort or another, one couldn’t help thinking of classic male acts; (the jaunty Firebird for example, is a great attitudinal mix of Small Faces and Van Dyck Parks). Straight Lines could have been a Soft Boys track, especially with that growling Kimberley Rew-style guitar line. 

 

Perhaps the references that keep popping up in this grizzled old critic’s mind are colouring my judgement, but then again, Hatherley has made no secret of being in thrall to previous pop craftsmen or splendid misfits, such as Andy Partridge or Todd Rundgren.

 

Maybe it’s the inherent cussedness of the song structures. They rarely drift; tracks like New Worlds –which do allow some space for reflection – suddenly pull you back into line with a snap of its fingers.  (And my lord, the bits of that song didn’t half remind me of the snappy feel in tracks like Crazy Little Thing on Beefheart’s Clear Spot)…

 

This isn’t to say that this is merely an exercise in wish-fulfilment; the magnificent Full Circle is a pop song extraordinary, pulling on heart-strings at every opportunity, especially with that brilliant change of key near the end. Hatherley’s muse really shines when she indulges in brisk stomps with textural / sonic interplays, like Little Sahara or the winsome Alexander.

 

Things quieten down with Cinnabar and Wrong Notes towards the end, and give vent to the softer, dreamier side of Hatherley’s muse, (something that saw much more of an outing in her last LP The Deep Blue). As ever with her slower songs there’s the feeling of a lullaby. Wrong Notes is chirpy and quirky enough to leave you wanting more as the track tails out.

 

A top LP, beautifully crafted and brimful of intelligence. And, just like everything the Lady Hath has done, ensure you get it.