Album: Kate Nash, My Best Friend Is You (Fiction)

It may be an understandable reaction to the criticism of her as a "Lily Allen lite", which followed her 2007 breakthrough, or simply the influence of a naturally broadening taste in music, but on My Best Friend Is You Kate Nash seems determined to forge a new, more individual musical personality for herself.

There are obvious hangovers from her original style, but the dominant approach here is to marry her semi-spoken pop vocal style with grungier, lo-fi arrangements that draw on UK and US indie influences. Sadly, it's not as successful as might be hoped: a song like "I Just Love You More" has the requisite soft/loud dynamic, but the screamed climaxes just sound like a bad karaoke version of "Song 2".

A similar strategy works far better, however, on "Don't You Want to Share the Guilt?", where her attempt to give a more assertive voice to a girl suffering low self-esteem shifts from tentative solicitousness, which eventually prompts the torrent of hopes, fears and anger that concludes the track. But she's ultimately hidebound by her vocal limitations, trying to squeeze articulacy into sing-song delivery, so that songs such as "Pickpocket" and the revenge threat "Kiss That Grrrl" are trotted out in two-syllable bursts, which follow the beat laboriously: the impression is of bite-sized, insubstantial thoughts, perhaps the way that lyrics are doomed to go in the Twitter era.

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