October 16, 2009
Little Sister Records
Pop/Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock

Album Review

After being asked to leave Northern Irish punk-pop trio Ash in 2006, guitar-wielding Charlotte Hatherley has simultaneously combined a critically acclaimed solo career with an impressive moonlighting gig as backing musician for the likes of Bryan Ferry and Bat for Lashes, suggesting that Tim Wheeler and company may have feared that their late-'90s recruit was in the process of upstaging them. Released on her own Little Sister imprint, her third album, New Worlds, continues to make her former band appear rather foolish, with ten tracks that cement her indie rock credentials while also establishing a more adventurous side thanks to its eclectic production from Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey), Luke Smith (Foals), and Alan Moulder (the Killers). Eschewing the lo-fi nature of 2007's The Deep Blue, the color cosmology concept album effortlessly pulls off a clever balancing act, cranking up the guitars on the Kate Bush does riot grrrl pop of "Straight Lines," the Yeah Yeah Yeahs-esque math rock of "Full Circle," and the glam-tinged indie disco of lead single "White," while also revealing a more sensitive disposition on the gorgeous spacy synths, intimate acoustics, and chiming xylophones of "Alexander," the lullaby-ish melodies and grungy basslines of "Cinnabar," and the proggy atmospherics of closing track "Wrong Notes." Elsewhere, Hatherley's sweetly lilting vocals provide an enchanting contrast to her aggressive guitar playing style on the '70s-inspired post-punk of "Little Sahara," the experimental art rock of "Colours," and the angular power pop title track, while the album's only misfire appears with the plinky-plonky piano-led "Firebird," a misguided singalong number that sounds more suited to a big-top circus than a sweaty rock gig. While her former bandmates continue to slide into irrelevance with their ignored A-Z singles project, New Worlds is a confident and immediate record that shows Hatherley is going from strength to strength.
Jon O'Brien, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. White
  2. Alexander
  3. Straight Lines
  4. New Worlds
  5. Firebird
  6. Full Circle
  7. Little Sahara
  8. Colours
  9. Cinnabar
  10. Wrong Notes