The New Classic
What do club kids do when they grow up?
They slow down, settle down, mature and become just that little bit less edgy, excited and exciting than they used to be. Judging by this measured, meticulous but ultimately middling second album, it’s a plight that has beset Kathleen Brien disappointingly early.
Her debut, 2012’s On A Mission, was one of the great rave-pop albums of that or any year, a love letter to clubbing and the thrill of the moment from a true dance music evangelist. It was the sound of a girl who lived for the-weekend, an everywoman lost in music and always up for a messy adventure.
There are times when Little Red recaptures that visceral joy. Opening track Next Thing is sublime, a joyous slab of house-pop that captures the feel of a club-hopping Saturday night when the world is full of possibilities. 5AM is the other end of the night – the melancholy that can descend as the euphoric beats come to an end.
Elsewhere, though, Brien has headed off into a strain of more reflective, mellow mid-paced pop that is considerably less interesting. The long-night-of-the-soul ballad Crying For No Reason – co-written with Robbie Williams collaborator Guy Chambers – and radio-friendly All My Lovin’ are polished, but could be the work of any major-label pop diva.
Where Katy B was on a mission, now she sounds as if she is just mooching around. Maybe she needs to start getting out more again.