The 26-year-old British singer, songwriter and actress Kate Nash has a problem of perception. On her first few albums, she was a new indie pop crush, her mix of sass and sweet buoyed by doo-wop, soul and vintage rock ease. "Kiss that Grrrl," the antagonistic but amicable single from 2010's My Best Friend Is You, epitomized that balance, painting her as a partner tough enough to dare you to be unfaithful. The new Girl Talk is stormier, with lyrics that brandish feminism like a weapon and arrangements that add riot grrrl inspirations to her general veil of likability. In effect, she sorts through her feelings and their forms in front of a live studio audience. That makes for an uneven but very interesting record, showing Nash is not a mere starlet but instead her own provocateur. And when the songs occasionally balance all those impulses, they're great. La Sera, the band of former Vivian Girl Katy Goodman, continues to best her previous act with chiming, churning rock tunes, big on emotional ambiguity and unambiguous choruses.
—Grayson Haver Currin