Music critics are always looking for the ‘real deal’. This IS especially true with female solo/fronted acts like Honey Cutt, especially those who dare to step foot anywhere near melancholy.
Such acts can tend to be dismissed as purveyors of the sort of puerile middle class angst that begins at girl meets boy, ends with girl loses boy and contains massive dosages of ‘1st world problems’, in between.
Front woman Kaley Cutt is the antithesis of the above. The deal is most certainly real with her. She slides experiences of her single mother/multiple sibling childhood into lyrics that both opine her childhood and celebrate the strength/love she was surrounded by (especially in relation to her mother) in equal measures. This this core aesthetic is accentuated by a vocal delivery that is just about deadpan enough to ooze the strength and apathy of the 90’s Britpop chanteuses.
However, it is not just this sense of reality that forces home the authenticity. Musically the impression is also accentuated with the dreamy notions of tracks like Vacation, Suburban Dream (see below – the sense of sardonic in this track is almost ‘reverse snobBERY’ in nature!) and Fashion School (she’s at it again!) which are jarred into life by the chiming jangled that jars from every angle to imbue melancholy. It is a fractured, sound that you might expect given the subject matter.
Similarly her coastal upbringing is imparted on proceedings with the grumbling, denser, bass ridden sounds of Hung Up On Me (see below), Judas Waltz and All I Have providing an inimitable, demi post-punk, brilliant bastardisation of surf rock. Again it is melancholy in feel, but simply straining with strength in femininity.
Of course, I will now be inundated with a) a bag load of mails referencing other female fronted acts that are ‘real’ and b) yet more e-mails from middle class types (just like me) bemoaning my attitude to first world problems…I will get through the pain of such criticism by listening to Honey Cutt (again and again)!