Charlotte Hatherley is to the 1990s as the Black Crowes are to the 1960s: not a revivalist, mind you, but a sympathizer — a careerist. That said, New Worlds — Hatherley's third solo album following her departure from Ash — is a wholly satisfying guitar-pop record, chock-a-block with ruthless hooks, tasty riffage, the occasional mathy detour, and consistent thematic allusions to brilliant color and, as the title suggests, other universes.
"Straight Lines," with its rubber-band vamp and dizzying chorus, and "White," martial and heady, illustrate how easily Hatherley bounces between taut and loose. "Full Circle" sounds like early Supergrass sabotaged by early Devo; "Little Sahara" bucks with the frayed nerves of Joe Jackson.
Hatherley, who's spent a good chunk of this year as a member of Bat for Lashes' touring band, is relatively unknown in the States, but you get the impression that a track like "Alexander" could change that, with a chorus so urgent and sudden that it could hail only from the here and now.