Princess Chelsea – Lil’ Golden Book (Lil’ Chief)

It’s a good time for royalty. Wills has made an honest woman of Kate, and Jonathan Bree has also proven to be rather charming by releasing Chelsea Nikkel’s debut album and turning her into a princess.

A sweet and simple songbook with darker undertones, ‘Lil’ Golden Book’ deftly captures life in 2011 New Zealand with songs like ‘Overseas’ (about needing to get out… and needing to return) and ‘Too Fast to Live’ (which would be a good track for an indie responsible drinking campaign). ‘Cigarette Duet’, a double act with Bree, has the most energy of the songs as it humorously encapsulates a familiar argument between a couple on either side of the smoking debate.

‘Monkey Eats Bananas’ is like a swampy Sugar Plum Fairy, ‘Frack’ features trembling and clipped vocals reminiscent of early Marianne Faithful, and ‘Goodnight Little Robot Child’ is a sweet, 21st century coda that appears to be an ode to a phone. The one off note is the inclusion of the song ‘Yulia’, which is about a young woman in a relationship with an older man. Depending on your point of view this track will be hilarious… or thoughtless.

Brad Fafejta’s nice yet nasty artwork complements the often childlike and dreamy songs that sometimes feel more like sketches than finished works. The simple lyrics veer from poignant to banal and back again… as you would expect from the packaging, which firmly places the album in the realm of Alice in Wonderland, nursery rhymes, and fairy tales both good and wicked.

Film makers and mad hatters please take note, as Princess Chelsea’s songs have an eerie quality that could equally suit the big screen, or high tea.

Kathryn van Beek

Click here to listen to Too Fast To Live from Lil’ Golden Book: