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Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Princess Chelsea: Aftertouch

Reviewed by Amanda Mills

Princess Chelsea: Aftertouch

Cover albums can be hit or miss. Get it right and you’re bringing something new to established songs, but get it wrong, and you’ve got an album of disappointments. Princess Chelsea’s (Chelsea Nikkel) third album thankfully falls into the former category, taking songs by artists including Lil’ Chief labelmates The Reduction Agents, Nirvana and The Beatles, and putting a glacial (both temperature and pace) synth-pop pall over them. ‘Aftertouch’ sounds incredibly brittle and fragile in places, though heat is injected here and there. Nikkel’s warm and engaged vocal on Marianne Faithful’s gorgeous Morning Sun is authentic in tone and delivery, and, uh, faithful to the original – a track returned to again and again. James Milne’s Cold Glass Tube is another taking on a warmer tone, using piano as accompaniment and especially lovely with Nikkel’s echo-steeped vocals cooing in the background. Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling In Love is slowed down a touch and spun in a haze of synths to give it a dream-like quality, while Come As You Are is incredibly intricate. Arriving just over a year after her very personal second album ‘The Great Cybernetic Depression’, this is an extension of Nikkel’s sound and aesthetic, with much to like – from the quality of the vocals to the skill of the synth-pop production – but occasionally does feel like style over substance. When the style is this engaging though, is that such a bad thing?