Onto Kate’s second album now, and after The Kick Inside I was a little reluctant to say the least. I mean this album was wheeled out less than a year after TKI which isn’t usually a hallmark of a classic album.
BUT after a sluggish start, I really rather got into this album. It’s obviously not a big leap sonically but for some reason I warmed a lot to it. Partly it could be down to my listening to it on headphones in bed. I wonder if TKI would have benefitted from it.
(Originally posted March 2010)
08 Symphony in Blue: I find this rather sweet, I can imagine her usual flouncing around waving her arms. Quite easy listening, reminds me of the band “The Feeling” in an odd way (that’s a good thing). Rather mixed tempo, love the little waltzy bits.
09 In Search of Peter Pan: God I love this intro, very melancholy despite the chirping. I really love the production, her voice is just gorgeous too. I’m totally RAPT until she starts going on about being an ASTRONAUUUUT, I think I lose the plot a bit. Doesn’t really go anywhere, just repeats the first half… but still, there are worse songs to do that to. Then the rather screechy outro!
10 Wow: LOVE the intro, there’s such a chill in the air, I love the atmosphere. Then that bridge leads into THAT CHORUS WOOWOOOWOOOWOOOW-OH! With that lovely end-of-70s synth flourish. GORGEOUS. Gives me chills, the whole thing.
09 Don’t push your foot on the heartbrake: What a title! … hmm well again she totally sucks me in with a car accident story, into that DA-DA-DAAAAH bridge that I love. The chorus is a bit ‘hmm’ but it snaps out of it, sadly into a rather plain second verse. I just love that bridge though. I am being very forgiving so far, that last mental chorus is irresistible though.
08 Oh England my Lionheart: Now I have the benefit of knowing what this one is about. I actually quite like it, the imagery is good. She managed to steer away from tedious ballad just about, with some real Tori-foreshadowing again. Very medieval-sounding, in a good way (no, I don’t know either). That “I don’t want to go” reminds me of the end of Catatonia’s Mulder and Scully in a weird way… I realise it’s stupid to say that THIS reminds me of things that were recorded afterwards, but you know what I mean.
07 Fullhouse: I’ll continue the descending scores I think. She tries for the storytelling again, I like the manic piano but I’m not quite feeling this. Reminds me of a song from War of the Worlds, very musical theatre-sounding. I don’t hate it, but I’m not really quite there, despite that infectious squawk of “YOU’VE got a fullhouse in your HEAD TONIGHT”.
07 In the warm room: OK, I was tipped off that this is about vaginas, and even with that knowledge it’s not that bad. I admit I’m lost with some of the metaphor (as I probably would be with an actual vagina). It’s quite a nice gentle melody though, I’m pleased I’m not sick of her voice by now.
07 Kashka from Baghdad: Social commentary time, but I love this story. Scandalicious and I love the vocals. Not mad on the chorus apart from the big note – I do hate that Be-e-e-e-e thing too that sounds like a penguin swallowing a herring. Doesn’t quite live up to its initial promise though, shame.
10 Coffee homeground: OMG this is right off the insanity Richter scale in places. From the rather jarring Wallace and Gromit intro, I love this bizarre vocal style. I can imagine Stoofah from Harry Hill singing this “Ooooffer me a choocolaaate, no thanks you’ll SPOIL my DIET”. “You smell of beeeter aaalMONNDD”. It’s like she’s had some sort of a mental episode. The chorus doesn’t let off, I always smile at the very least at the squeaky backing “AND A COFFEE!! AND A POT OF TEEEEAAA!!!!” then bizarre Russian grunting la-las. AMAZING. Please tell me she made a video of this with her singing in Blackface makeup! Schnitzel, WUNDERBAR!
07 Hammer Horror: Should really have stopped it before this… the only thing more bizarre than the previous track is choosing this as the lead single. I don’t hate it, to be fair, but that chorus really is pretty crummy. I DO remember it, and I have a fondness for a bizarre Hammer movie I saw once (that’s another story). A bit of a damp squib to end on but it’s not the worst I’ve ever heard. What a depressing bong at the end too :(.
So! A marked improvement there, with my first 10s too. I should probably revise Wuthering Heights to a 10 in hindsight, but whatever. A much more enjoyable album in totality I think, even the worse songs have features that I like. I’m not expecting everyone to agree with my Coffee Homeground praise though!
You know, I find the album a bit like Madonna’s Confessions on a Dance floor (just bear with me on this), insomuch as it’s an album of moments. The songs might not all be incredible but they all have at a defining moment at the very least, which I was quite surprised with. I had the impression this album was thrown together, and it possibly was to a degree, but it doesn’t sound like a rushed album to me.
That’s just MY opinion though, I await the firing squad…
Keepers for the iPod: Symphony in Blue, In search of Peter Pan, Wow, Don’t put your foot on the heartbrake, Oh England my Lionheart, Coffee Homeground.
I really must add this parody from “Not the Nine O’Clock news” though… totally nailed it!