Kate Nash is all over the place on My Best Friend is You

I’ll be honest: I could not find a point of entry to get into Kate Nash‘s My Best Friend is You. I mean, sure, the music is fine, and interestingly varied: there’s the faux-’50s throwback guitars of “Kiss That Grrrl;” the staccato piano of “Pickpocket;” the sludgy guitar tone of “I’ve Got a Secret;” the rollicking violin line of “Higher Plane.”

It’s just that there’s so much, and Nash herself doesn’t really try to tie it all together. So her album becomes a bunch of one-off sound experiments, prodding the edges of handfuls of genres without fully committing and exploring one or two. There are great pieces of songs in here, but they’re just pieces, and each swell of strings or catchy riff ends up becoming part of the “album,” and forgotten just as soon.

And that’s too bad, because there’s no denying Nash is talented. “Don’t You Want to Share the Guilt?” takes a risk by slowly building to a string-heavy climax under a beat poem spoken by the songwriter, and it’s very pretty. The sublimely catchy “Later On,” with its Florence and the Machine levels of instrumental space and hugeness, is a radio anthem in the making.

But still, Nash seems unsure if she wants to be that singer or the rowdy punk one. She squeals inarticulates on “I Just Love You More,” and recites a very sexually explicit poem to start off “Mansion Song.” And both of these paths — the anthemic mainstream and the who-gives-a-shit punk — work to some end (although “Mansion Song” went a little too far for my tastes). It’s just a matter of Nash choosing one, sticking to it, and barreling headlong into that musical subculture.

Kate Nash – “Do Wah Doo” [MP3]

Kate Nash – “I Just Love You More” [MP3]

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