Interscope/Cherrytree Records (19 September 2011)
It could be said that Natalia Keery-Fisher suffers from a serious identity crisis. In the past, she has released music under the names 'Verbalicious', 'Verse', 'Verbz' and most recently, 'Natalia Cappuccini'. However, she seems to have finally settled upon Natalia Kills as the name under which to release her debut album, Perfectionist. Its concept is succinctly presented in its introductory first track, 'Perfection', where Kills explores the lengths to which we are prepared to go in order to find perfection. Control, disappointment, volatility, fantasy and power balance are clearly important aspects of the album's comment on society.
There's a slight lack of cohesion within Perfectionist. Tracks like 'Break you Hard' and 'Acid Annie' give the impression of a crazed, dance-tinged stab at a rock album, with lashings of electric guitar punctuated by heavy distortion and angry lyrical outbursts. However, other stand-out tracks such as 'Mirrors' and 'Zombie' give the album a more conceptual edge with aggressive beats and a haunting feel. Eerie spoken effects accompanied by choral chord structures give both tracks a gothic style, but there is a sense of unoriginality in the lyrics and composition; an arguable fusion of Lady Gaga and Rihanna that is hard to escape.
This dark choral feel is echoed on 'Superficial' and 'Love is a Suicide'; both powerful in their own ways. They explore the price of love as both 'something money can't buy' and an irrepressible force that takes over your life in a 'surgical' way; something you can neither run or hide from. This is at odds with the view of love expressed in 'Nothing Lasts Forever'; a dark exploration of the addictive, fickle nature of the human soul.
The token lighter track, 'Free', echoes some of Kills' earlier personas, borrowing lyrics from an earlier release under the Verbs name, 'Shopaholic'. This track feels like an incongruous afterthought that doesn't seem to fit Perfectionist's underlying theme. Another rather disappointing aspect of the album is a distinct lack of steam in the final few tracks. While 'Heaven' and 'If I Was God' are interesting in their own right, they feel like late additions to what is otherwise a strong set of tracks.
It's easy to forget that Natalia Kills is actually from Bradford, as the album has a distinctly American feel throughout. While this isn't necessarily a bad thing, one can't help but feel that Kills has sold out to producers and record executives in order to make her sound like 'the next big thing'. While Natalia is blessed with a refreshingly individual sound, this is buried within layers of autotune and effects. However, throughout all this, the Kills vision shines through spectacularly. Every word from the introduction is clearly assessed and dissected in nearly every track, and this makes Perfectionist into an album that is easy to listen to without skipping a track; no mean feat. It's also clear to see that much of Kills' strength lies in her visual interpretations; both the videos for "Mirrors' (below) and 'Zombie' show an artistic prowess that we will hopefully see a lot more of. This album is certainly not one to be missed.
Perfectionist is released on 19 September 2011, and can be pre-ordered on Amazon.co.uk.