Hitting 30 is terrifying for most people. But some revel in growing older and becoming more mature. And it seems that ex-Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley is one of those such people.

The revelation from her former bandmates that they asked her to leave, rather than her choosing to quit, will have come as a surprise to many people. But Hatherley was never likely to let a minor thing like effectively being sacked stop her.

‘Alexander’ is the second single from her third solo release New Worlds, an atmospheric record that puts her at the pinnacle of British female alt-poppers. Her previous two albums were confused in style, but Hatherley seems to have finally struck a balance.

‘Alexander’ is charmingly gentle and swirling to start, with haunting piano underlying Hatherley’s honeyed toned. Later, there’s the trademark Hatherley angular, hooky guitar lines complementing her barked vocal of “You’re innocent, you’re innocent”, making a rather super single that deserves to win her many more new fans.

And even better than that, she’s moved away from the Kate Bush comparisons that were threatening to overshadow her solo work by playing guitar on tour. Now there’s a better candidate to take over Bush’s weird-pop crown in Bat For Lashes, Hatherley can concentrate on her own thing. And it sounds like there’s a lot more to come.

Rating: 4/5

This review was written for Daily Music Guide.