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Kate Nash breaks out with “Made of Bricks”

Stephanie DePrez | Monday, January 28, 2008

Kate Nash walks a fine line between Brit pop and indie heart. Most albums coming out of the United Kingdom today are infectious, enjoyable and produce a few straight-to-the-airwaves London hits. This is certainly the case with London suburbanite Kate Nash’s “Made of Bricks,” but she manages to break free of the industrial pop sound that one has come to expect from Brit pop and tap into something that is far more organic and quite possibly appealing to fans across the pond.

Nash grew up outside of London. After attending the BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology, she auditioned for the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and was rejected. She began writing songs with witty lyrics and a somewhat cynical view of everyday life. Lily Allen, an established Brit pop songstress known for her catchy R&B flare, put Kate Nash in her top-eight on MySpace, and soon Nash was flooded with profile views. She eventually released a single and was picked up by Fiction Records. She flew to the top of the Pops in the United Kingdom and her album “Made of Bricks” was No. 1. It has since been released here in the United States.

There is certainly no harm in a quick spin through “Made of Bricks.” The first track is a pointless intro, but every other song has something that makes it stand out, either in the form of a melodic hook or else in the unexpected subject matter. “Foundations” is the single that has made a mark (however distant from its United Kingdom success) in America. It is textbook catchy with its piano riff and synthetic drumbeat, but an honest listen to the lyrics is enough to make you laugh out loud. Nash jumps effortlessly between complaining about her day-to-day life to providing her own color commentary on it. It’s also a bit of a novelty to hear her speak in that oh-so-careless British accent.

Strong caution must go with the track “Mariella,” because one listen will leave it stuck in your head for hours. This story of a grade-school girl who breaks all convention is annoyingly addicting. “Birds,” the original B-side of Nash’s first single, is a true indie gem. This sunny love story provides a nice breath in the middle of the album. “Pumpkin Soup” is an upbeat tune that almost expects whoever is listening to it to sing along. Every song has a distinct sound and a redeeming factor, making the album as a whole not a bad experience.

The route Nash took to success is a testament to the changing ways of the music industry. Her fame came first from her MySpace page, not unlike another self-made songstress, Colbie Caillat. Caillat was brought to fame purely by popular appeal, with hardly a middleman to speak of.

Although Nash may not be making a musical breakthrough, she certainly provides 40 minutes of pleasant distraction. Her reflections on life are not revolutionary, but her work reminds us that anyone with a piano and some heart can make a bit of music that matters.