Natalie McCool: The Great Unknown


We feel we should be kind about McCool’s new album. She has a tenuous Cheshire connection, so she’s almost local, and we’ve heard her earlier stuff and thought she had potential. But, as people sometimes say, this would be a vinyl album, where you play side one but rarely flip it over for side two of the listening experience.

The first tracks are all pretty good, McCool adopting a brittle voice rather high in the register over icy synth music. In places it could almost be someone like The Concretes (from Sweden, a bit dull) but she also reminds us of Paula Jones, who had a hit with Where Have All The Cowboys Gone? a good few years back. She had a fine voice but was musically erratic.

Open Pins is electronically dry, her voice deliberately distorting slightly in the opening seconds but track two, Cardiac Arrest is a warmer, more soulful sound. The run of strong tracks continues until Fortress, which would be the last track on side one of a vinyl cut. After that the album seems to lose its way a bit, and we’ve struggled to connect to any of the subsequent tracks.

If you like cool electronic pop, try the songs mentioned; in this age of download you only need to buy side one of anything really, don’t you?

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