Everyone might have the record but it’s still worth praising, and will be in 8 months when we decide records of the year. Yet it contains surprises, and the odd disappointment, though it’s generally what we wanted from her for her proper album debut.
She’s a whiz at wordsmithery and the lyrics don’t disappoint; it’s one of the few albums to justify printing the lyrics on the album bag. ‘Elevator Operator’ spins a story of the daily commute and one man’s rebellion, with sharp observations like “hair pulled so tight you can see her skeleton”. ‘Depreston’ is a stunning tale of suburban ennui, blowing off the sloth with a great chorus, and in the powerpoppy ‘An Illustration of Loneliness (Sleepless In New York)’, well-chosen words seem to drop effortlessly from her lips. Lyrically, she sounds like Darren Hanlon while musically there’s a little Lemonheads, Pixies and Nirvana in the mix, and more than a hint of Squeeze-y New Wave, not least in 'Aqua Profunda''s catchy rhythms.
But lyrically she makes a diversion into environmentalism as ‘Dead Fox’ adopts an organic theme while ‘Kim’s Caravan’ is a tale told in sepulchral tones, mourning the loss of nature (“the Great Barrier Reef isn’t so great anymore”). It’s long, experimental and well arranged, with voices in chorus and a gloomy guitar tone. Similarly experimental, but less successful is ‘Small Poppies’, almost 7 minutes of bluesy indulgence – a song best left as an obscure album track. It’s easily forgotten through as the brilliant ‘Pedestrian At Best’ precedes it, a feisty grungepop classic in the making.
The record doesn’t have the same gritty bite as her live performances but it still impresses; her lyrics sound like she’s next to you, personally narrating into your ear, while the music is bright and energetic slacker pop. It’s not quite a classic but it’s pretty classy.