Album Review

Kate Nash - 9 Sad Symphonies

A needed return from Britain’s most emotionally deft and comedically deadpan pop artist.

Kate Nash - 9 Sad Symphonies

As oxymoronic as its title, Kate Nash’s fifth record is a placeless and timeless cinematic fantasia, where her staple, comedic British melodrama tumbles through whimsical compositions, big-screen Gilded Age strings and a sprinkling of raw ‘00s American folk. Dreamily affected by the boldness of the Hollywood aesthetic, ‘9 Sad Symphonies’ was forged from years spent between London and LA, yet the two influences never clash, moving instead gently around one another. It’s not shocking, for example, when the prestige period drama violins and country fiddles of ‘Millions of Heartbeats’ move through the garage beats and Clean Bandit-esque strings of ‘Wasteman’ or the poetic New England pastiche and blood-soaked romance of ‘Space Odyssey 2001’. Meanwhile, where Kate’s familiar melancholia and knack for indie rock pairs well with the transatlantic aesthetic, expected British humour bleeds throughout: “You’re bread and honey / And I’m the bank,” she sings lazily on ‘Vampyre’, voice drawn out over tambourine like a drunk Western: “The priest caught you in the church while you were having a wank.” 

Though her fifth strays massively from the wiry harshness of earlier material, it keeps close a failsafe songwriting scaffolding and off-piste love-song sensibility, backed by lonely strings that are as devastating as they are triumphant. Here, she’s cracked the code: ‘9 Sad Symphonies’ is an album of time-travelling ‘Merry Happy’-ish fables, where Kate paints the British woman in an Americanised world, making romantic strife a cinematic epic, effortlessly capturing and healing the hyperbole of her heart, a needed return from Britain’s most emotionally deft and comedically deadpan pop artist. 

Tags: Kate Nash, Reviews, Album Reviews

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