Album Review: Kate Nash – Yesterday Was Forever

By on Tuesday, 17th April 2018 at 12:00 pm
 

Kate Nash Yesterday Was Forever album coverLast year at SXSW 2017, I came across established pop princess Kate Nash performing at Latitude 30, wearing a pink boa, a cute dress and fishnet stockings. It was 10 years on since her breakout hit ‘Foundations’, yet in this bar in Austin, it seemed all her fans in town were there and we were transported back in 2007. It’s those devoted fans who put money into the Kickstarter kitty for her fourth album ‘Yesterday Was Forever’, out now on Nash’s own label Girl Gang Records. She’s very different from the BRIT School graduate thrust into the spotlight before the age of 20 and who made ‘Made of Bricks’ for Fiction Records a decade ago. She has an acting career, with the starring role in Netflix female wrestling comedy GLOW, and splits her time between London and Los Angeles. Nash feels a responsibility “an advocate for young women – that’s what drives me and my career.” But what does Kate Nash sound like on record now?

At 14 tracks, it’s an album that overstays its welcome and would have benefited from with some self-editing. That said, Nash hasn’t put out an album since 2014’s ‘Girl Talk’, so she has a lot to say and this time, without the hands of a major label, she can say what she wants, right? She has struggled with mental illness over the years – most notably, obsessive-compulsive disorder – and says this album ‘reads’ like a stroll through her teenage diary. Spoiler alert: it’s a bumpy ride. You remember the teenage years: hormones raged (‘Body Heat’) and confusion about relationships (‘Take Away’ vs. ‘Hate You’) and your own identity abounded. What will determine your enjoyment of ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ lies in whether you can look back at that time in your life with any sort of fondness.

A good litmus test is opener ‘Life in Pink’, in which Nash tries to balance her inner demons (“wish I could let my brain / decide and stop the pain”) with trying to be cute (“I keep heart-shaped glasses close to me”), screeched in a Courtney Love-esque vocal. This is probably a good time to remind everyone that Love is one of Nash’s heroes. You either embrace or reject the contrast of sugary sweet popster and punk rocker grrl. On ‘California Poppies’, Nash channels Love again for another vocal cord-ripping exercise.

One wonders if Nash considered doing an entire album with a punk feel but only walked it back because, well, pop sells better. Early taster ‘Drink About You’ suffers from throwaway lines like “spots are coming out on me, what should I do?” But to the general listener, it’s more important that the high energy tempo and the gay guitar tune are catchy. She goes into the popular pop topics of sex whilst drunk on ‘Karaoke Kiss’ and a disconnection with the digital world on ‘Twisted Up’, both songs exploring female desire.

Most of the songs on this record are encased in a sugary sheen of production. It’s unfortunate, as when Nash breaks from this trend on ‘Musical Theatre’, she’s also the most honest with herself and with us. The mostly spoken word song sounds like a feed from her mind, a stream of consciousness while she copes with an anxiety attack. It’s a brave moment and should as applauded as an emotional moment Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit has written. But that’s not what ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ will be remembered for. This is a schizophrenic album with pop, punk and attempts at balladry, with mixed results.

7/10

Kate Nash’s fourth album ‘Yesterday Was Forever’ is out now on her own Girl Gang Records. She is currently in the midst of a North American tour, stopping at Englewood, Colorado’s Gothic Theatre tonight. For past coverage on TGTF on Nash, go here.

Tags: , , , , ,

Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required
 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

All MP3s are posted with the permission of the artists or their representatives and are for sampling only. Like the music? Buy it.

RSS Feed   RSS Feed  

Learn More About Us

Privacy Policy

Keep TGTF online! Donate here.