I first discovered Kate Nash upon listening to her single “Foundations” in 2007. It was a good reflection of attitudes I held at the time: necessary angst but energizing in a carefree way. Its crisp feel prompted me to buy her following album Made of Bricks–mostly a continuation of that same styled mixture. Fast-forward six years and a few life experiences and Nash’s most recent album release, Girl Talk of 2013, has a new aesthetic to offer. Certainly not the confessional-yet-hopeful and quirky upbeat tempos of Made of Bricks (“Mariella,” “Skeleton Song”) or else dirges based on something like a painful crush (“Nicest Thing,” “Merry Happy,” “We Get On”) constructed with piano, acoustic guitar, and occasional strings once held dear at the end of puberty’s grasp. Nor is it much like My Best Friend is You of 2010, although “I Just Love You More” was a hint of what Nash has called “quite a normal (musical) progression.”
Where once her lyrics read like diary entries or unsent heartfelt letters, in Girl Talk they sound more like the rhetoric of a rough therapy session: lamenting stagnancy, dictating arguments, or telling off shitty friends and so forth. To match the ideas we have sounds of an electric bass, more drums and cymbals, much quicker rhythms, and either shouting or her downtrodden voice (“Part Heart,” “Labyrinth”). In a way the change is refreshing, especially as Nash begins to grapple with heavier ideas like sexism, feminism, and self-worth rather than youthful reflections on the nature of being. And though always spirited, the new music is much more suitable to dancing, which is always more fun than sitting down at a concert anyway.
Nash says she is now performing the “best shows she’s ever done,” so mark your calendars because Milwaukee will be hosting her at Turner Hall Ballroom on October 29th. If her music played a part in your formative years, or if you just enjoy true talent and rockabilly/ grunge/ attitude, this show should give you something to be very excited about.