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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Pipettes: "We Are the Pipettes"

Unless you've been living under a rock for the last year, you've heard of The Pipettes. In case you haven't though, I'll catch you up. The Pipettes are a neo-girl pop group made up of three British vixens that wear matching polka-dot outfits. They are backed by an all-male band known as The Cassettes and their music has a very heavy 1950s pop feel to it despite lyrics that are made more for a 2007 audience. There's been a lot of hype around this group since their debut album released over a year ago. It's just now making it's way to the US with two bonus tracks, and for those who imported it, it's probably not worth a purchase. For everyone else though, The Pipettes is a band you should know and one worth listening to.

If the whole concept of The Pipettes seems kind of silly and, dare I say, gimmicky, that's because it kind of is. But despite that, the music here is still excellent and fairly infectious. All of the songs have a very sing-along feel to them and it's hard not to fall in love with it. The opening track, "We Are the Pipettes" finds RiotBecky, Gwenno, and Rosay (yes, those are stage names) introducing themselves to the world, declaring "We are The Pipettes and we've got no regrets. If you haven't noticed yet, we're the prettiest girls you've ever met!" This sort of humor is the thread that ties the whole album together. For example, in "Your Kisses are Wasted on Me" the girls take the tried-and-true "boy, I'm too good for you" song and make it worth listening to with a line like "Boy get out of my face! Boy I'm going back there to chase some other guy that I might like." The chorus to the song is downright heartless, but at the same time, pretty humorous.

"ABC," tells the story of a bookworm who's too busy studying that he forgets about romance. The Pipettes sing "He knows about ABC, 123, XYZ, but he don't know about XTC." Get it? Of course you do! "Pull Shapes" is my absolute favorite track on the album and has been since last year's debut. The song is a shameless dance track, complete with skittering violin arpeggios (think 1970s disco music) and the order to "clap your hands if you want some more!" Oh, I do, I really do.

If "Dirty Mind" sounds familiar to you, you might have heard it in an episode of Grey's Anatomy, or you might have heard it in your dreams. Chances are, it was in both. It's a great song, and one of the album's best! "A Winter's Sky" tones down the girl-power for a few minutes and gives us the album's first ballad. The girls harmonize beautifully here, but it's clear that the strength of this group comes more from the upbeat pop songs than songs like this. Still, a semi-ballad like "Tell Me What You Want" works pretty well, and leaves some hope for variety on future Pipettes albums. As for this album's two bonus tracks, they're not really worth a lot of fuss, so if you picked up the UK release of "We Are the Pipettes," don't worry about re-buying.

So sure, The Pipettes are kind of a gimmick, but unlike most gimmicks this group is really talented. RiotBecky, Gwenno, and Rosay have absolutely beautiful voices and they harmonize well together. The Cassettes don't get a lot of attention (they stand behind three women in coordinating outfits, remember?), but their ability to recreate the sounds of 1950s pop-music is unparalleled these days. I'm not entirely convinced that The Pipettes current style of pop music wouldn't wear thin on me by the time a second album rolls around. Gwenno is currently working on a solo album and early tracks hint at an electro-pop album, much like The Postal Service. It might be cool to hear the whole group do something similar and take the Pipettes in an entirely different direction. But for the time being "We Are the Pipettes" is awesome and I couldn't be happier!

Recommended for fans of Camera Obscura and anyone who wanted the 1950s to be a little raunchier.

Key Tracks:
1. "We are the Pipettes"
2. "Pull Shapes"
3. "Dirty Mind"
4. "Your Kisses are Wasted on Me"
5. "Tell Me What You Want"

7 out of 10 Stars

1 comment:

sean sean seaa said...

i kind of liked that album too. there is a pretty funny interview with Gwenno in this months RAGGED. you can check it out at...

www.raggedmag.com