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England Made Me

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Album Review

Even if Cath Carrolls Factory Records debut was bloated with unremarkable songs, it would be noteworthy for the way it prefigured the sort of female-fronted dance pop popularized by groups like Saint Etienne and Waltz for Debbie. Fortunately, England Made Me is a consistently engaging affair, a cunning work of slinky, sinister pop and ghostly electronics. Though it was designed for the dancefloor, the record boasts no big beats. Rather, the songs are built around gently pulsing percussion and Carroll's aching alto. A veteran scribe for the NME and former frontwoman of the indie pop group Miaow, Carroll ably applies both her wordsmithery and melodic knack throughout the album. Songs like "Beast on the Street" and "Watching You" are moody and spare, with Carrolls voice drenched in echo and sounding miles away from the microphone as synths burble and moan around her. "Beast on the Streets" relies on a simple, two-note electronic bassline and Carroll's haunting repetition of the line "You lead, I'll follow." When the record abandons its moodiness, the results are nearly always disastrous. The Casiotone bongos and plinking piano in "Send Me Over" make the song sound cheap-watch chintzy, and the Jan Hammer Korg horns in "Next Time He's Mine" make the song sound more like a product of the early '80s than the early '90s. The reissue on LTM amends the record with five superb bonus tracks (particularly the remix of "Moves Like You") that help distract from some of the record's shortcomings. "Too Good to Live" gurgles and pumps slowly, allowing Carroll's voice to trickle down slowly over the notes. ~ J. Edward Keyes, Rovi


Born: 25 August 1960 in Chipping Sodbury, Avon, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Singer and cult heroine Cath Carroll was born August 25, 1960 in Avon, England; raised primarily in Manchester, she bore witness to early performances of bands including Warsaw (later rechristened Joy Division) and the Fall, and ran in some of the same social circles as a then-unknown Stephen Morrissey. With friend Liz Naylor, Carroll played in the band the Gay Animals, and also published the famously vitriolic fanzine City Fun. Among the 'zine's most vocal supporters was Factory Records, and according...
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England Made Me, Cath Carroll
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