Album review: VV Brown - 'Travelling Like The Light'
Her rockabilly pop may be jaunty, but it can’t hide a yawning lack of substance
According to the deluge of fawning broadsheet profiles and fashion mag spreads, [a]VV Brown[/a] is the kookiest, craziest, cleverest thing to happen to British pop since Paul McCartney invented the double thumbs-up. A statuesque Caribbean girl from Northampton with a rockabilly quiff who performs with a ‘real’ band, writes her own brass arrangements and muddies her pink wellies at ‘proper’ festivals, VV is being marketed as the ‘indie’ option in a world of Pixie Lotts.
But don’t be fooled. Even if she wasn’t cooked up in a crisis meeting at Island after Winehouse’s wagon deposited her in a ditch once again – and the suspicion lingers – VV Brown’s irksome brand of ‘doo-wop indie’ is about as substantial as a Dairylea triangle. Most of these songs were supposedly penned in the wake of a painful break-up from a no-good man, so you’d think a title like [b]‘Crying Blood’[/b] might allow for a little emotion to seep to the surface. Instead, the song sounds like Matt Bianco doing the Time Warp.
Listening to [b]‘Travelling Like The Light’[/b] is like being trapped inside a ’50s-themed Las Vegas diner where the waitresses do dance routines between doling out cheeseburgers. It’s so unremittingly jaunty it makes Jack Peñate’s debut sound like ‘Unknown Pleasures’. Admittedly [b]‘Shark In The Water’[/b] is a pretty fine pop song, the ersatz retro window-dressing shoved aside to let a soaring, Xenomania-style chorus burst through. [b]‘Back In Time’[/b] benefits from a simpler, arrangement, although VV refuses to let up with her constant mugging.
She’s got a bunch of good voices, but not one she could truly call her own. Over the course of the album she goes from Eartha Kitt to Kate Nash and back, in a bizarre performance that seems expressly designed to conceal any hints of her true self.
By the time [b]‘Crazy Amazing’[/b] comes around, based on that annoying ‘Chopsticks’ tune everyone learnt to play on the school piano, you know who to book should you ever have to organise a birthday bash for a millionaire’s 10-year-old daughter. But unless you’re hyped up on a cocktail of Sunny D and Haribo yourself, you’ll find most of this album very annoying indeed.