By Charlotte Hatherley
You can almost see the cogs at work. "I'm virtually guaranteed rock star rights for the next 5-10 years thanks to Tim Wheeler's pop dynamic sensibilities, the definitive Best of will be released soon giving me a pretty tasty cash flow and I am adored by all frustrated, sweaty indie boys aged 14-30, who find me sexy in a dominating, older woman type way. Time for that solo album then."
So to "Grey Will fade," which undeniably soundtracks Charlottes summer of fun. She has fun with the lyrics, notably on "Kim Wilde" where the "move over just like a juggernaut" couplet sticks out like a suicidal motorway accident, the conspicuous lyrics simply drawing you into Charlotte's web before the "baa baa baa boo" backing vocals drown you in pop dynamism.
We have fun with men on the cutely titled "Bastardo," a call to arms for every woman that's been dumped on, duped on or simply discarded.
We have fun with instruments as the lush honky-tonk piano on "Summer" gives it a Hootenanny feel, only in a "Hey Jude" way and the introverted guitar solo later on threatens to out Fox Michael J.
We have even more fun with the lyrics, as Charlotte ambitiously uses paragon and seratonin to good effect. And when was the last time you had a song title called "Paragon?" Yeah, hand down Ivor Cutler.
We have Ziggy era Bowie fun on "Where I'm calling from," its wierdy beardy noises building into a swell of sonic feedback before the crunching guitars crash over the top.
We have grown up balladry, crying into your mocha fun, paradoxically heartbreaking and heart-warming, as "Down," beautifully breaks the pace of the album, its Juliana Hatfield simplicity striking a more sombre chord.
Importantly though, it all sounds fun and fresh to the listener, bringing a smile to your face and a stomp to your foot. It's not self-indulgent fun though; it's proper beer garden fun, unpretentious and down to earth. In fact, Charlotte sounds like your new best mate, buying the round in and burping with the boys. Idols don't get much more fun or real than that.