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Charlotte Hatherley - Grey Will Fade


Review: Jack Foley

GUITARISTS have ventured into solo territory with mixed results of late.

John Squire's latest album, Marshall's House, is a classic example of why guitarists should stick to what they do best; but Graham Coxon's Happiness in Magazines is an indie gem, harking back to the early glory days of Blur, before they explored deeper, more meaningful territory.

It's great to be able to say that Ash guitarist, Charlotte Hatherley's debut solo release falls into the latter category - providing ample proof of a terrific talent, not to mention a bit of a nostalgia trip to boot.

For while Ash veer into heavier, more metal-based territory with their latest album, Meltdown, Hatherley exudes a gleeful indie breeze that provokes comparisons with the joyful likes of The Sundays and Weezer.

Indeed, there are melodies and guitar hooks throughout Grey Will Fade that, dare I say, put the sun back into the Summer we seem to largely be missing this term, making it the sort of album you don't mind seeking solace from the rainstorms in.

Tracks such as Summer reverberate with the same sort of cheeky pop-rock melodies that helped to make Ash so popular, while also veering into the old-school indie sound of The Sundays and The La's.

Likewise, Why You Wanna? and the title track, which provide terrific guitar anthems, as well as catchy, easy to sing-along with blasts of happiness.

There are only hints of Hatherley's riot grrrl roots, with Nightnurse (prior to joining Ash), in tracks such as the rock-stomping Stop and Paragon, which find the album at its weakest.

But, for the most part, there is a joyful exuberance surrounding the album which sounds like an artist having fun, as well as a youthful innocence born out of lyrics such as 'And oh my beautiful guitar... had been stolen by the toothpaste lothario', about a naive one-night stand, on Bastardo.

The sense of fun is totally infectious.

Track listing:
1. Kim Wilde
2. Rescue Plan
3. Paragon
4. Summer
5. Down
6. Stop
7. Where I'm Calling From
8. Why You Wanna?
9. Bastardo
10. Grey Will Fade

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