Princess Chelsea -‘Lil’ Golden Book.’ (Lil’ Chief Records/Cargo)
Y’know how sometimes it’s those innocent kids’ things in films that can actually be so subtly but ultimately deliciously sinister? Think a jack-in-the-box, clowns, deserted theme parks (hello, Scooby Doo) -or indeed, children themselves? (Think The Omen, The Shining, The Sixth Sense.)
So it is with this debut album by New Zealand’s Chelsea Nikkel. This album actually may rate up there with being one of the very few albums ever to contain the first song written by an artist -in this case, one she wrote as a teenager, ‘Monkey Eats Bananas.’ There’s a childlike -as opposed to childish-approach to the music, and the simplicity of the music is subtly unsettling.
It’s a concept album of a sort -a suburban fairy-tale in which Ms. NIkkel presents herself as a character called Princess Chelsea (whose front cover work bares a resemblance -possibly intentional -to Disney’s Snow White) offering considerations on society. ‘The Cigarette Duet’ didn’t make much sense to these ears outside the album, but here is reveals itself as a duet about a couple’s different approaches to addiction, sung in the style of Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra. ‘Overseas’ in which the ingrained New Zealand upbringing of travelling abroad reveals that it’s better to travel than to arrive. ‘Goodnight Little Robot Child,’ meanwhile, is a lullaby sung to a laptop.
Unquestionably one of the most unusual and original albums you are likely to hear this year.
Lil’ Golden Book is relesed on Lil’ Chief Records on October 8.