Pop stars tend not to gestate in the same way as our Charlotte. Plucked from teenage obscurity to bolster the Ash line-up, she was a ready-made pin-up who spent a decade in a much-loved indie band without getting to open her gob. All we knew about her was that, to survive that, she must have been one tough bird. And no, that isn’t sexist, it’s just that Ash survived horrific bus crashes, monster hangovers and changes in fashion. They were indestructible.
Opening track ‘Costeau’ signals that, Toto, we’re not in Camden anymore. For her second album, everything has changed. Charlotte’s is a lush and spectral world, painted in the magic-realist colours of Kate Bush, and nailed down with the skewed college-pop dynamics of ’90s indie darlings such as Throwing Muses and Belly. If a theme runs through ‘The Deep Blue’ it’s taking control of your own destiny. And while that means the defiant jerk-pop likes of ‘I Want You To Know’, it’s also the delicate insecurity of ‘Roll Over (Let It Go)’.
That title, by the way, doesn’t just mean jumping off the deep end: there’s a dense richness to most of the songs here that makes it an album that reveals more tricks and truths the longer you navigate.
So thanks are due to Tim Wheeler. When he drafted in a sultry axewoman all those years ago, who would have known he
was going a long way to creating a lasting star?