Best Girl Athlete (aka Katie Buchan) – self-titled album review - Jenny Tingle

Best Girl Athlete’s album seems like a labour of love. Atmospheric soundscapes and many instrumental parts are carefully matched to delicate pop rock. Wistful, catchy and beautifully layered, this album took me a few listens to adjust to it. Partly because with every listen, it seems more complex.

Different Face contrasts sweet vocal harmonies with grittier bassline and drums. Violin melodies over the top would normally be overbearing, but way the songs are arranged and mixed is extremely well-crafted. Each instrumental and vocal part shines and be heard perfectly. Different Face is dreamy, but with a sense of direction.

Join The Masons is gentle but resolute in its message of freedom and autonomy, and stands out as my favourite track on the album. The guitar sound and vocal harmonies are beautiful.

It’s the snare sound which particularly interests to me- again Best Girl Athlete does something unexpected and against general writing/recording practices; the snare wires are left to vibrate freely, lending an eerie rattle to the song’s backbeat. It really works.

In Your Head is the most poppy and upbeat song, with a brass section riff.

Throughout the album, Best Girl Athlete utilise traditionally orchestral instruments including strings and piano. This album is equal parts, acoustic, classical, pop and indie-rock.

It’s not a soundtrack to personal crisis, because it’s always just on the edge of upbeat. A strange mix of sentimental and inward-looking, yet motivated lyric give a sense that gloominess which inspired some of these songs is already almost passed and lit by a brighter future ahead.

Creating an album with this many instruments and parts must have been a huge undertaking, but Best Girl Athlete made it work. It’s a self-titled album to be proud of.