Return of the loneliest girl…
Since 2011, Princess Chelsea has served up four albums of engaging indie pop with her fifth album, Everything Is Going To Be Alright, ready to keep that legacy going.
The New Zealand musician also has a talent for lively live performances; making shrewd choices in the setlist (no easy feat with her extensive catalogue), while also allowing room for the new material to shine through. Chelsea is also someone who clearly has a lot of fun on stage and the chemistry with her band tonight seems to spread through the packed audience at London’s Moth Club (It’s also clear that the love for Princess Chelsea has grown over the years with this particular venue packed to the rafters).
The early part of the set features some of Chelsea’s more reflective songs, including a brooding ‘Everything Turns Grey’, a hymnal ‘No Church On Sunday’ and also the cool charm of ‘I Love My Boyfriend’ – a number which ends up with the audience enthusiastically joining in on. There’s also a big cathartic blowout for the guitar-fuelled ‘The Forest’ which sees Chelsea bopping away backed by a wall of noise and feedback.
Things switch gear with the cynical pop of ‘Wasting Time’, whose lyrical musings on “waiting around to die” are given a strange perkiness care of Chelsea’s vocal lifts and the song’s pop hooks. That acidic wit is also reflected in ‘Too Many People’, which is given an additional flourish here care of some acoustic guitar.
There’s a playful quality to the pop groove of ‘Love Is More’, a new song which has a definite 60s bubblegum vibe to it. Another new number in the shape of ‘Time’ follows, apparently inspired by Chelsea’s grandma. “I love you!” shouts someone from the audience. “I love my grandma!” quips Chelsea in response.
‘Time’ offers a more pastoral outing with some easy organ elements and a breezy optimistic lyrical lesson on the virtue of patience (“When you wait a little while/One day you’ll find you can smile”). There’s also a few nods to Chelsea’s early years, including a whimsical ‘Monkey Eats Bananas’ (which works up into a surprisingly percussive thrashout). The sedate ‘Respect The Labourers’, Chelsea’s paean to the building trade follows. Its reedy melodies drift through a composition packed with musical tributes in lines such as “Respect the labourers/No it wasn’t built on rock and roll”
‘Everything Is Going To Be OK’, the title track from her new album, has a surpsingly stark and raw percussive power in its live rendition. It’s a haunting composition offering some hope for the turbulent times we’re all going through.
Of course it wouldn’t be a Princess Chelsea set without the song that put her on the map with ‘The Cigarette Duet’. A last minute surprise visit from Jonathan Bree, whose deep vocal tones give the song its power, is of course essential. Understandably, there’s a lot of love in the audience who of course know all the words to the indie pop classic by heart.
There’s a brief MC segment before the set concludes with the funky vibes of ‘The Loneliest Girl’, turning things into a big stage party. Everything is indeed going to be alright.
Everything Is Going To Be Alright is out now.