Charlotte Hatherley - Grey Will Fade
Reviewed by Andreas on 24th August 2004
I admit to being a bit of an Ash fan. I remember all the hits, "Goldfinger", "Oh Yeah" and so forth. I only started to really paying attention after Miss Charlotte Hatherley joined the band, and they released (IMO) the underrated "Nu-Clear Sounds" album. However, Miss Hatherley has grown in the last few years, becoming a rather decent songwriter as well as singer.
"Kim Wilde" opens her album with a sugary pop style, slightly reminiscent of Ash, but that's to be expected. This, the first (digital) single off of the album, is highly catchy, very cheerful and rather delightful. The dooo-woop backing vocals and funky guitars are very fun (I really have no better description of it). You could well be listening to this song over and over again on a sunny afternoon.
"Summer" is the first proper single, and what I think is one of the best tracks on the album. Not least because Charlotte appears in the video wearing a skimpy PVC outfit... *cough* Another happy, cheerful tune with a chorus you'll remember for ages. The guitar work is very good, fitting the melody perfectly. As you'd expect, really. Charlotte Hatherley is, after all, a guitarist.
And it's perhaps the fact that she's first and foremost a guitarist that lets her down a little bit. Her vocals are very sweet, sugary, even cute. And that gets old after about 8 songs into the album. In that respect she's very much like Tim Wheeler of Ash. Although I'd rather listen to Chaz.
For while her vocals are a bit same-y, her songwriting is very developed. On "Grey Will Fade" you'll find fast songs, slow songs, pop songs, rock songs and ballads. "Down" is a melancholic ballad, while "Stop" is more stoner-rock than anything else. Messy, chaotic and very heavy. There's no song on the album that makes you want to turn it off, which is a good thing. There are slightly dull tracks though, like "Where I'm Calling From", which makes me think "Oasis". Yawn.
Luckily, another highlight comes at the end of the album. "Bastardo" is a high-paced, catchy poprock song about a vicious one-night stand named Antonio who disappeared the morning after, stealing Miss Hatherley's guitar, and apparently "that's what really broke [her] heart". At least the girl's got her priorities straight. Furthermore, it's one hell of a catchy song, just like the rest of the album.
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