We Are the Pipettes

by: The Pipettes

Just when you thought they didn't make 'em like that anymore, Brighton's Pipettes emerge with this debut album to prove you wrong. With hooks and looks borrowed from the golden era of Phil Spector, the Pipettes, it seems, are on an admirable mission to re-establish the concept of the girl group, and there are, undoubtedly, some true gems on We Are the Pipettes: the 2006 mid-summer single "Pull Shapes" being one. With its stop-start rhythms, sparkling near-disco strings, and a lyric celebrating the bliss of dancing your cares away ("I just wanna move/I don't care what the song's about"), it gives the listener a pretty good picture of what this record is all about. "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me" and "Dirty Mind" are also very well-executed, upbeat girl group pop songs. But the era of girl groups, of course, was just as notorious for its highly melodramatic ballads. On "A Winter's Sky," the Pipettes come close to perfecting this art as well. It stands out from the majority of the songs by being seemingly irony-free and sincere, rather downtempo, and filled with the sweet vocal harmonies bound to melt even the iciest of hearts. Not all the tracks are equally great, of course. The theme song "We Are the Pipettes" is just plain silly, and not in a good way. Although the album does drop a little in quality towards the end, there's not much filler on We Are the Pipettes; considering that this is a 14-song debut album, that's no small feat. One objection does, however, spring to mind -- why on earth did they not include "School Uniform"? -- arguably one of the most absurdly catchy and fun pop singles of the last few years. With their strictly classicist approach, the Pipettes have managed to bring the girl group concept into a new millennium. Inevitably, though, they have brought something of their own time period and personal outlook to the formula. Firstly, all-male backing musicians the Cassettes make them sound much more like a band than any of the classic girl groups, who were more often than not very studio-bound projects. Secondly, and for the better, their lyrics are in no way inextricably bound to clichéd boy/girl love themes. At times they subtly attempt social commentary, for example on the fine single "Judy," but more often they're humorously reversing the stereotypical boy/girl roles. If not particularly important, We Are the Pipettes is both witty and filled with ear-catching melodies. Recommended listening for any lover of classic, celebratory pop. ~ Anders Kaasen

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