Regularly touted by the likes of BBC2 and Huffington Post, London’s The Cheek of Her brings some of the most blunt tracks of their career on their latest EP, Black Heart Mantra. Vocalist and pianist Helen Dooley certainly brings evidence of the previous accolades to the forefront with the group’s latest endeavor, with a no holds barred release that has the anachronistically dark quality of Amanda Palmer as well as the catchy whiffs of Kate Nash.
Black Heart Mantra is yet another entry in the timely fashion of singer-songwriters “telling it like it is.” While there’s nothing wrong with some lyrical tact, a great deal of Dooley’s favorability hinges on some perceived lack of honesty in the current state of pop music. For someone poised behind a piano that seems like an easy allegation to lob, but making the case a decade ago may have been easier than attacking some musical state of fraudulence.
Still, The Cheek of Her is charming and kitschy in the entry-level interior guide of British songstresses. Dooley’s piano bounces through Black Heart Mantra with the best of them, pending that the best of them are her contemporaries from years past. One has to imagine that a subgroup exists across the pond where the increasingly-antiquated melodies of the aughts are just as remarkably popular as the melting flange guitar is becoming. Black Heart Mantra has got some bite, it’s certainly catchy, but most notably it’s an excellent primer record for the uninitiated.