CocknBullKid - Adulthood
Review by Jack Foley
COCKNBULLKID’S debut album Adulthood is very much a coming-of-age record. It announces Anita Blay as a major new force on the pop scene.
The artist first made an impression as part of the 2008 Camden Crawl line-up but has since cultivated her edgy style into a finely honed pop vehicle that has seen her draw comparisons with everyone from Lily Allen to Morcheeba.
Certainly, the Lily Allen vibe is present and correct, while there are times when her vocals are every bit as smooth as Skye’s.
Blay, though, is very much her own kid, having enlisted Liam Howe, of Marina & The Diamonds fame, to lend the album extra sheen.
Hence, her street savvy, and sometimes beautifully self-deprecating lyricism is embellished by slick pop beats, strings where necessary, chimes and an easy-going vibe that marries thoughtful layering with instant catchiness.
And she pretty much grabs your attention from the start… a chugging bass and a lazy beat ushering in the opening moments of title track Adulthood and a simple piano chord weaving occasionally in and out.
Blay, meanwhile, lays down her lyrical honesty from the start, too, issuing a line: “God, if you really love me you’ve got a funny way of showing it.” It’s honest and disarming.
There are more insights into her own mindset on the autobiographical CocknBullKid, which opens with lines about the effect of pills, while dropping those Skye-like vocals over bouncing melodies and piano chords and an utterly infectious chorus.
The breezy pop optimism of the instrumentals provide a lovely juxtaposition to the ironic lyrics of Hold On To Your Misery, which also has a retro vibe about it, while Yellow once again draws on serene vocals and foot stomping piano chords and beats before ushering in some lovely string arrangements.
The edginess of her earlier recording days is evident in the playful, Blues Brothers-esque guitar underpinning the pop rocker One Eye Closed, while on Mexico she employs an emphatic percussion element and a vaguely rapped vocal, allowing sharp guitar riffs to infiltrate at certain points.
Not every track works as well as the best on the album and there’s a certain validity to the claim that she’s at her weakest when channelling Lily Allen more directly. But in the main, this is an assured and highly likeable debut offering that makes the CocknBullKid one cool customer worthy of widespread appeal.
Download picks: Adulthood, Hold On To Your Misery, One Eye Closed, Mexico, I Deserve It