Sunday 14 April 2013

Charli XCX - True Romance

The Hertfordshire born singer (real name Charlotte Aitchison) claims that 'True Romance', her debut album, explores "every corner" of her romantic history.  At just twenty years old you may question what history she's drawing on, but with this album she's proved that she's far from a bratty popstar.

Youth does play a large part in her appeal however.  From the tumultuous beginning of Nuclear Seasons to claiming You're The One (via "undressing in my house again" on What I Like), 'True Romance' captures the adrenaline rush of young love and everything in between.  There's plenty of quirkiness in Aitchison's delivery, which ranges from sweetly sung to a half-spoken snarl.  Like the best young, female popstars, her persona combines youthful vibrancy and punk attitude; a 'butter wouldn't melt' facade to sexually driven angst.  It's a dichotomy epitomised by the song title Black Roses.

The production continues the bubblegum feel but with a gothic twist.  Nuclear Seasons begins with an introduction to the album that deserves to be a full length track in itself, before plunging into the song proper - all moody synths, jerking hand-clap beats and eerily chiming melodies.  It contrasts with subsequent track (and current single) You (Ha Ha Ha) that samples Gold Panda for its innocent chipmunk vocal hook, and Take My Hand - a bubbling rush of fizzing pop.  The dark and dramatic continues with Stay Away (a stomping ballad that outdoes Hurts) and the lurching How Can I, whilst Black Roses and You're The One offer catchy pop melodies amongst their industrial sounds.  There's no let-up or respite, just thirteen tracks of dark, pounding pop.

Charli XCX is certainly an artist who will appeal to a teen fanbase eager for big tunes with a rebellious edge.  Equally, 'True Romance' will appeal to older listeners with its industrial production and endless hooks, whilst tracks like Cloud Aura (with its rap from Brooke Candy) hint at a more mature future.  This is a popstar who can straddle the boundaries between mainstream and indie - glitter with a thick streak of noir.


Gizzle's Choice:
* Nuclear Seasons
* Stay Away
* Black Roses

Listen: 'True Romance' is released on 15th April.

Watch: Charli XCX is touring throughout the summer.