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The Deep Blue

Charlotte Hatherley

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Album Review

After the uneven but very promising debut album Grey Will Fade, it was going to be interesting to see where Charlotte Hatherley would take her music in terms of development. The Deep Blue answers that question by decidedly veering away from her affinity to Kim Wilde, the Ramones, and other straight-ahead rock purveyors. Starting with the instrumental "Cousteau," the mood is set more toward the atmosphere of Pink Floyd's "Echoes," but, in keeping with progressive rock's habits (yes, that's the territory this album is closest to), that comparison alone would be misleading. What we have here definitely leans to the side of challenging music — this second album shows a self-assured Hatherley setting up a panorama of unique song compositions with no concessions to lovers of power pop and the like (as seemed possible from her work with Ash and from her debut album). Then again, no wonder, given the members of her band: Eric Drew Feldman, who worked with Captain Beefheart, Pixies, and PJ Harvey, and Rob Ellis, also of PJ Harvey and author of solo albums steeped in avant-garde music in the vein of John Cage, Erik Satie, or Olivier Messiaen.

Recorded for the most part in Italy, the lyrical content of this concept-like album generally circles around the uncertainties of longing (specifically including fear in various forms), with the poetic imagery kept on the vague side, in keeping with the unconventional song forms, all of which makes for a challenging listen. Still, although some of the songs are more on the uncomfortable side (including the first few), the majority do have a clarity that makes them coherent and enjoyable, like "Roll Over," "Very Young," or "Dawn Treader" (co-written with non other than Andy Partridge of XTC). The last two songs provide a case in point: "It Isn't Over" is possibly the most pleasant song on the album, the closing song, "Siberia," is one of the less accommodating ones. Which of the two did Hatherley choose as one of the single releases of this album? "Siberia" — no holds barred, as they say. So, depending on where one stands, one could say this is a classic case of "difficult second album," maybe even trying too hard to impress, or, if you like your music adventurous and original, a respectable show of self-assurance.

Customer Reviews

A Review From Someone Who's Actually Listened

Actually her debut was called 'Grey Will Fade.' It was a very good album to. However, it seems the writer of the pointless review above might be pleased to hear that 'The Deep Blue' is a different affair from 'Grey Will Fade.' While the summery pop punk of the original is still evident on songs like 'I Want You To Know' and 'Very Young' which are both stand out instantly as well written pop songs 'The Deep Blue' prooves from the first wordless track 'Costeau' with it's lovely oohs and aahs that Hatherley has much more to her and has much more to bring to the songwriting table. 'Roll Over (and Let it Go)' starts out gently before hitting a wonderful stride and 'Dawn Treader' is simply lovely. A varied album that has a lot more to it than may have been expected and sounds even better after repeated listens. Well worth checking out and very promising for the future. She's a good guitar player and she's now proven she has the voice and the songwriting skills to match.


Loved Grey Will Fade, but this exceeds that album with a more varied, more adventurous set of songs. There are still a couple of indie belters in the form of I WANT YOU TO KNOW, VERY YOUNG and SIBERIA, but much of the album is about a moodier, mellower Charlotte. BE THANKFUL is a great song, seemingly about her break up from Ash. The dense and beautiful melodies continue on AGAIN, ROLL OVER and IT ISN'T OVER. All in all, a bold second album that proves that Miss Hatherley is still the dark horse. To the idiotic original poster who hadn't heard the album or even bothered get the name of the debut right; I'm glad she left Ash. On the evidence of these songs, she was wasted in the band.

Perfect on her own

I had the pleasure of seeing Charlotte live on Tuesday as she presented The Deep Blue in London and I was stunned by the strength of this record. It's beautifully different to Grey Will Fade, not better, not worse. I am a big fan of Charlotte Hatherley because I am a big fan of ASH and I find it quite ridiculous when people judge her just by the fact that she left the band. It's better if you listen to it first, and then comment.


Born: 20 June 1979 in London, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Long before her days playing guitar with the boys of Ash, Charlotte Hatherley got her start churning out her signature pop guitar riffs with the grunge-inspired outfit Nightnurse. She was a student by day, but a punk rock girl by night, and only 15 at the time. For two years, Hatherley perfected her playing style and experienced the rock & roll way of life on the club circuit. The Irish indie rock trio Ash caught one of those shows. To Hatherley's surprise, they were looking for a fourth member....
Full bio
The Deep Blue, Charlotte Hatherley
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Customer Ratings