In 2008 thecocknbullkid was being touted as the next big thing. Back then, Anita Blay released two singles that homed in on the edgier sides of camp electronic based DIY pop. On My Own and I’m Not Sorry, both honest tales of the lows of disposable modern love, attracted a lot of attention and she found herself signed to a major on the day she played a headline gig at the ICA in London.
Having taken a bit of time to figure out what to do with that deal, and now 25 years old, the Londoner has put a debut album together and spent some time supporting Marina And The Diamonds and Kele. Rechristened CocknBullKid, this first headline gig of her next chapter found her to still be the same curious mix of girl next door and pop superstar that attracted us in the first place.
That’s not to say things haven’t changed, for they have. The set list leaves out the songs that drew us towards her a couple of years back, and while the sharp synths of the past have now been left to one side for a marginally more guitar-based sound, the songs are still as hook-heavy and easy to get along with as ever.
Her new material is packed full of potential singles. We’ve already heard her coo and chirp away through CocknBullKid (the song) and she’s released One Eye Closed. Next up will be the Spector-infused Hold On To Your Misery. But the album’s looking to have more depth than that. There are a few songs that pass by without much fuss; I Deserve It steers dangerously close to instantly forgettable MOR filler, but The Hoarder and Asthma Attack prove that while she might have left the electro-princess behind, she’s kept her sass intact.
Blay looks gorgeous tonight in a tight white dress and funky platform stilettos, one sad but glitzy teardrop drawn in on her left cheek. Like her awe-inspiring support act, American rapper Dominique Young Unique, she deftly combines attitude and warmth, and comes across as one of the most likeable budding pop stars on the planet.
For those of us who have followed her for some time, there’s a certain sadness that she’s left part of herself behind. While she still has a wicked line in relatable lyrics and a refreshing lack of pretension in her songwriting, there’s a slight loss to be felt at the songs that have passed. Concerns that she might have missed her boat by turning up post the emergence of Little Boots and Ellie Goulding will hopefully be unfounded as she stands apart from her neighbours. 2011 should really be the year when CocknBullKid at last makes her own particular way forward towards success.