mercredi, juillet 12, 2006

The Pipettes live

The Pipettes

Life Cafe, Manchester

Dave Simpson
Wednesday July 12, 2006
Pop is suddenly being invaded by girls in retro dresses. There are the Puppini Sisters, who favour little black numbers and give pop songs 1940s makeovers. Then there are Brighton's Pipettes, introduced here by a compere who urges everybody to "put on your dancing shoes". Their audience includes teenage girls in polka-dot frocks, sucking Pipettes lollipops. The Pipettes even do the hand jive. In the retro stakes, these girls definitely have the edge.

A backing band (the Cassettes - who are real, not Memorex) gives proceedings a certain indie spike. But, mostly, the three vocalists - one brunette, two blondes - offer a modern spin on classic girl groups: the Shangri-La's, the Marvelettes and the Chiffons. Their songs seem to have been blasted from a golden age of the Brill Building, Phil Spector, sugary harmonies and doo-wop - but with a contemporary, slightly feminist slant. Most concern nasty boyfriends, or boring boyfriends dumped for being "too sweet", and there's a streak of prudity in Judy, about a girl who did "rude things".

They are clearly not to be messed with. Rosé displays a schoolmistressy demeanour when she instructs the crowd to dance even faster. When bespectacled Riotbecki confesses, "I'm dancing so frantically I'm starting to lose my clothes," her counterpart platinum blonde bombshell says, "Ooh! You dirty lady!"

These are pop songs of calibre. Pull Shapes (which "reached number 26 this week!") is a fusion of T.Rex's Born to Boogie and the Carpenters' Please Mr Postman. They close with We Are the Pipettes: ". . . and we have no regrets/ We're the prettiest girls you've ever met/ And we haven't finished with you yet!" How could anyone resist?

At King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow, tonight. Box office: 0121-221 5479. Then touring.