Album Review: Louise Aubrie- Late 44
When you hear the phrase pop-punk, you’re likely to think of bands like Blink 182, Green Day. American bands who know their way around a melody combined with a record collection that were designed to antagonise their parents. That isn’t pop-punk to me, though. To me, pop-punk is crafting melodic songs with the punk sensibility that lets you break out of your comfort zone into any genre of music that makes the song soar. This is exactly what London born singer songwriter Louise Aubrie has achieved on her third album Late 44.
All the songs were written by Aubrie and recorded at the legendary Abbey Road studio, and it’s clear that some of the legend of the place has rubbed off on Aubrie, who presents a plethora of different sounds and attitudes all wrapped up in a poppy bow.
The album opener, appropriately titled Masterstroke, begins with a riff that conjures the dirty streets of London in the late 70s, a deft mix of Magazine sounds and Susie Sioux’s vocal melodies Aubrie clearly knows her post-punk. Tearjerker a musically lighter song but lyrically tells a tale of dashed hopes: “make it with nothing/but her heart on her sleeve”. It shows off her poppier side with a killer hook.
Next is the album highlight Perfect Battle Cry. Starting off with a chiming country riff punctuating acoustic strumming this is the first glimpse of Aubrie’s comfort melding different genres together. The vocals are pure Elastica circa 1995 as Aubrie spins a tale of the exaggerated games of romantic coupling: “He tried to win her over with a perfect battle cry/She knew he took her over with a perfect battle cry”, it really is the law of the jungle. After the downbeat but sweet Winter Dolour (stands to reason, I can’t think of a happy song with winter in the title outside of Christmas songs), comes the fast paced rockabillity of Too Late a veritable race against time as Aubrie spits: “tick tock you love me it’s too late”. Next to Nothing highlights Late 44, and Aubrie’s, greatest strength, that her chorus’ and hooks are deceptively simple: “I know next to nothing”, but without warning they’ve already burrowed into your brain ready to be hummed later when you’re in boring company. Next is Kiss of Life: the kind of song that seems like it would be right at home on the soundtrack of David Lynch’s demented road movie Wild at Heart. The back half of the album sees Aubrie jumping from feeling to feeling: youthful nostalgia on the slight but affecting Candlelight, barbed aggression on One False Move, and weariness on album closer Please Don’t Touch, probably the most melodic way of telling a guy to back off and cool down-the choppy guitars in the chorus help too.
Late 44 presents Louise Aubrie as a hard as nails performer but also a dreamer, her songs are about the standard pop fare of love, sex, and loss, but it’s the resilience as well as the vulnerability of her protagonists, whether they be her or not, that make the album universally relatable without seeming old hat.