1. Monday’s Make Me Feel So Awful
2. Can’t Keep My Hands Off You
3. What About The Kids
4. Miss American Perfect Body
5. He Wanted More
6. He Loves Me
7. Naturally Born Bad
8. Bad Egg Blues
9. Baby On The Phone
10. Rock N Roll Radio
12. How Fucking Dare You
13. Oh Na Na Na (I Want The World)
I’ll be honest, I approached this review with some trepidation, over the course of the last year I’ve become a huge Hands Off Gretel fan (the band Lauren fronts, if you haven’t checked them out yet what’s wrong with you, listen to them now!) so I was concerned on several fronts by this album. Would it be any good? Would it be so good that Lauren decided to go it alone? Would it change my mind about Hands Off Gretel recent album being the best release this year so far?
So many questions! Having now listened to the album many times I can honestly say it’s a triumph! It’s a more intimate, confessional and subtle album than 'I Want The World'. It shows a side to Lauren that was hinted at in several Hand Off Gretel songs but never fully explored. It’s beautiful at times, at other times disturbing but also never less than engaging and enjoyable. Lauren either has the ability to get inside the mind of women and girls experiencing really tough times or she’s had a harder life than she deserves.
Having, earlier in my life, worked representing women who had sought the help of women’s aid I can honestly say one of the songs, 'He Loves Me', couldn’t have been any more accurate about how some of the women I dealt with felt about it their situation and the self deceptive approach they ended up taking to avoid dealing with the reality of their life and and abhorrent behaviour of the men in their lives (I know many men experience the same thing but Lauren’s song is written from the viewpoint of the woman in an abusive relationship).
Throughout there is an honesty and rawness to the lyrics that suggests a maturity well beyond Lauren’s years. Her vocal performance is excellent as ever, if anything I think it’s slightly better than with Hands Off Gretel as it’s more restrained and reigned in. It adds a power to the songs that shouting the lyrics wouldn’t have achieved.
Album of the year? It’s different from 'I Want The World' and because of that I think I have to give them joint album of the year. But if this is a sign of things to come Lauren is going to be a huge star, with, or without Hands Off Gretel ( I really hope it’s with but I’m biased). There is a talent here that needs to be nurtured and enjoyed. Songwriting talent this good doesn’t come along very often.
Website - www.laurentate.co.uk
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Review - Iain McClay