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Charlotte Hatherley - Grey Will Fade

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1 of 1 The buzzword is quality
The buzzword is quality

Double Dragon - 2004 - 41 minutes

It's difficult to believe that it has been seven years since Ash plucked a skinny 18-year-old from the obscurity of the London club scene to become the fourth and only female member of the hitherto Downpatrick trio. Since making her live debut at the 1997 V Festival, young Ms Hatherley has gone on to claim the mantle of the undisputed queen of the British indie scene.

Emerging from her stage right position in Ash, Hatherley has finally gotten round to releasing her first solo album. Her individual talent came to the fore when title track 'Grey Will Fade' appeared as a b-side on the Ash's 2001 single 'There's A Star'. The guitarist had hoped to get this album completed the following year, but due to the hectic schedule of Tim Wheeler & Co, she had to use spare time during the recording of 'Meltdown' to squeeze out this effort - and a fine job she has done, too.

She has already released 'Kim Wilde' as a download, and the album comes a week after second single 'Summer' hit the shelves. But to be honest, good as they are, they are not the best this collection has to offer. 'Rescue Plan' and 'Where I'm Calling From' are two gems and vie for the top song with the title track, which in keeping with the overall mood wraps things up on an optimistic note.

Recorded in Los Angeles, many of the songs have, by Hatherley's own admission, a heavy west coast influence, and this most audible in her voice, which oscillates throughout, ranging from US indie girl (a la Rilo Kiley) via Corrs-like mid-Atlanticism before finishing at its strongest when the lanky Londoner croons with her natural accent.

The only blip is the track 'Stop'. A better title would have been 'Skip', and some may not be enamoured with 'Bastardo' - a quirky tale of a one-night stand with a guitar- stealing Mexican lad. Overall though, the buzzword is quality.

Séamus Leonard

Tracklisting: Kim Wilde - Rescue Plan - Paragon - Summer - Down - Stop - Where I'm Calling From - Why You Wanna? - Bastardo - Grey Will Fade

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