It seems like a perfect time for Katy Carr to release a themed album looking back at the World War II musical sweethearts like Vera Lynn and Gracie Fields. Not only is it around the time of Remembrance Day but Lynn has also recently had chart success when she could very easily be resting up in a relaxed retirement.
The connection with Lynn is made explicit in the penultimate ‘The White Cliffs’ when Carr borrows wholesale from the wartime stable ‘We’ll Meet Again’.
In fact the theme of wartime life and loves is made explicit throughout with the 1940s style artwork featuring a Spitfire. Throughout ‘Coquette’ too it draws, musically, from that era with all the songs having a sort of jazzy, cabaret feel to them. As if you’re in someplace like the Café de Paris sipping a cocktail whilst the cigarette girl stands in the corner. And Carr’s soft, lush vocals just set the right tone and are accompanied with subtle strings and a gentle rhythmic pace.
The whole of ‘Coquette’ is seeped in wartime femininity conjuring up a bygone era so evocatively. At times it does sound all a little contrived but for the vast majority of the time Carr carries it off superbly pulling the listener into her world.
And sometimes it is a very private world that Carr reveals. In ‘Erotic Days’ she invokes the memory of her lover: “He screams, he makes me wet.” Elsewhere there is the tenderly fragile ‘Butterfly’ and the somnambulistic ‘Sleepyhead’.
‘Coquette’ is a wonderful evocation of a time long since past and only really glimpsed in old black and white films nowadays but given a modern 21st century makeover. It might be nostalgic but is not a piece of nostalgia.
So take your place in that cabaret, order yourself a swanky cocktail and let Carr’s ‘Coquette’ wash over you.