Grow – Charlotte Grayson (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

I don’t really listen to a lot of pop music these days, not the type of thing found huddled under the style over substance umbrella of today’s market. It probably isn’t really aimed at me anyway and I always feel that is exactly what is wrong with the situation. By assuming that pop should only be something aimed at a certain demographic, that it should be something transient, something to be used, enjoyed and discarded, it sells itself short. And it is when I hear young artists such as Charlotte Grayson that I am reminded that the genre could, and indeed can be so much more demanding of itself.

Sure it is Adele and Taylor Swift but it is also K. T. Tunstall and Paul Westerberg, Carole King and Jackson Browne. Pop can have class and clout, pop can be deft and delicious, it can be elegant and eloquent, and Grow touches on all of these important aspects. Drunk Girls is still the perfect pop peach for the modern age, cheeky, suggestive, perky, conversational, silly, honest and self-deprecating…and it’s just great. The beat behind it is less the sound of a shuffling snare drum, more the sound of boxes being ticked.

What I Mean is a lilting, folky pop piece with sonic echoes of the ghosts of Del Amitri, dancing about in the wings…they’re not dead, you know what I mean, and I feel if anyone is writing songs which could easily have found their way on to their glorious Waking Hours album, which is very much what is happening here, then this has to be an artist that you really need to keep an eye one. Flat is a wonderfully lush and loose, shimmering, blues-infused guitar ballad and Love You More is the sound of a young soul channelling some old Soul.

You can almost skip over previous singles Old Flame and Sorry, not because there is anything wrong with them, far from it, but because for a change we have been presented with an album of songs all of which rival the singles. The album ends with the perk and poise of Agree To Disagree, a song which, let’s be fair,  Amy McDonald would kill to have written.

All too often you revel in the singles which pave the way for an album, then grit your teeth as it lands with a slightly unsatisfactory and hollow twang. Grow lands with a solid and dependable thud and the main thing that springs to mind when listening to its dynamic highs and understated lows, its pop sizzle and its indie-folk subtleties, its twinkling modernity and unexpected maturity, is this…how the hell did Charlotte Grayson decide which would be the singles from an album which contains absolutely no fillers or also-rans? Tell me, I demand to know….

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