For 30 minutes – ie 90% of its running time – Charli XCX’s new album CRASH is a crushing disappointment. Yes, there are good tracks on it: New Shapes, alongside alt-pop royalty Christine and the Queens and Caroline Polachek, and Baby are towering, bullet-proof pop records, but both of these were singles, so their inclusion isn’t exactly a cause celebre. The UK garage bounce of (also previously released) Beg For You leaves me completely cold, as does Good Ones, which comes across – to me at least – as uninspiringly one-note.
So what are we left with? A few meticulously produced, immediately forgettable tracks, and one complete abomination in the shape of Used To Know Me, which serves only to remind us why most people stopped ripping off Robyn S over a decade ago. And then, when all hope seems to be lost, we have album closer Twice, which is vintage Charli: introspective, yet effervescent pop which bangs hard and makes you cry at the same time. The hype train has clearly addled the critical faculties of more than one reviewer, but Twice demonstrates than when she’s on form, no-one does this kind of stuff better.