Working the club circuit around London and the south-east for years before catching a break is a very real existence for many up-and-coming English musicians. Southend-on-Sea's Amy Turnnidge - aka Theoretical Girl - spent several years doing just that (and playing further afield) before being picked up by stylish indie label Memphis Industries for her debut album.
'Divided' doesn't offer anything particularly innovative, but there's something about Turnnidge's style that's completely alluring. First and foremost, this is an album about love and relationships; but if her propensity to wallow in heartache on most songs makes it a slightly one-dimensional record (see 'A Future Apart''s "The more I try to move on, the more I think about you"), she makes up for it with an occasional stinging barb, as heard on 'The Biggest Mistake' or 'Red Mist'.
Musically, Turnnidge could be described as 'chamber-pop noir', although there are dashes of downbeat electronica interwoven into these songs, too. When she's not sounding like Camera Obscura's twee wonky pop, she's channelling the pure voice of Julie Andrews, as heard on the gorgeous 'I Should Have Loved You More', or going all 'gothic horror pop' on 'The Hypocrite'. In theory, this album should be too burdened with both strings and heartache to really admire. In actuality, it's one that you might even love after living with for a while.