Flying on auto Pallot

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ADDING extra brains as well as beauty to the Main Stage on Saturday will be this miss.

And Nerina Pallot makes her Tramlines debut armed with arguably the best album of her career so far.

Kylie fans will associate the Jersey-born musician with her writing credits on Ms Minogue’s Aphrodite record, but judging by new album The Year Of The Wolf she kept the best songs for herself.

Although no stranger to the charts in her own right – remember catchy political hit Everybody’s Gone To War – Nerina is a prime example of someone who can do full-blown pop while remaining uncompromised.

Wolf harnessed her knack for euphoric pop songs with huge choruses – listen out for lead single Put Your Hands Up when she finds Devonshire Green at 7.45pm - to haunting war-inspired rhapsodies like History Boys.

“They’re all me equally,” says Nerina, who also wrote for Diana Vickers. “I don’t understand people who are snobby about pop – I know how hard it is to write a good pop song. Just listen to the backing vocals on any Abba record – they’re so intricate and amazing. That’s great pop.”

Nerina remains your typical thinking person’s pop star. Put Your Hands Up, for instance, was inspired by Wide Sargasso Sea, the prequel to Jane Eyre.

“It’s mental – all voodoo and obsessive love and I wanted to write a song about that, because I hate all the Brontë and Jane Austen stuff – I wish women would stop reading that s**t. Mr Darcy isn’t going to turn up on a horse and save you.”

Working with Suede guitar legend Bernard Butler as producer brought something else out of her music.

“Before I started this album I really thought about what was missing from stuff I’ve done before. I’ve never paid enough attention to groove – I realised that during working on the Kylie album. And I was missing guitar.

“People over-intellectualise pop sometimes – good pop should be three and a half minutes about sex really.”

It’s certainly a push on from when Nerina’s love affair with music began, when her former jazz singer mum and dad bought a piano for £30 at auction. By 13, Nerina was writing songs, influenced by Kate Bush and Elton John.

After demos hit deaf ears in London, Nerina landed a music scholarship and by her 20s her tenacity - “I was a bit rubbish at everything else” – she’d signed to a major label and released debut album Dear Frustrated Superstar.

She continued to juggle ‘soul-destroying’ jobs, depression and all-night writing sessions in the years that followed, however, eventually re-mortgaging her flat to finance second album Fires on her own label after reading the KLF’s tongue-in-cheek music biz guide The Manual. Picked up by Warners, she gatecrashed the top 20 with Everybody’s Gone To War.

Now married to record producer Andy Chatterley, much of Wolf was written and recorded while she was pregnant last year with their son, Wolfgang.

“You make a record to the best of your ability, but the truth is you don’t know whether it’s going to be number one or number 100,” she says. “You can’t think about that, you just have to make the music as honest and real as you can.”

Visit for a Q&A with Nerina.