The Deep Blue | Little Sister UK
Every once in a while an album comes along that makes you wonder whether melody really is the only thing that matters. Like her exuberant solo debut, 2005’s Grey Will Fade (Double Dragon), Hatherley’s newest does just that. There’s nothing particularly radical here: she seems comfortable writing songs that are straightforward pop punk in sound and style — songs that by turns stomp and whisper, relying on Hatherley’s charm to do the rest. Until recently, she played guitar in Ash, a band who got their start in 1994 as something of an Irish answer to the American pop-punk explosion. But if The Deep Blue sounds familiar, it’s less an echo of what Ash were up to than a reflection of Hatherley’s unabashed (and infectious) fondness for the tuneful, dramatic sounds of such humble mid-’90s alt-rock groups as Weezer and Foo Fighters. Standouts here include “Again,” which chugs along, strings swelling, like a big, sad caboose, and “Very Young,” which comes closest to matching the cheerful sass that made her first album such a joy.