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The Pipettes “We Are The Pipettes” (Album Review)

There are numerous things in life that prove that injustice is everywhere in the entertainment world. The “magnum opus” that is R Kelly’s “Trapped In The Closet” being released as 12 separate singles (all, terrifyingly, released with an accompanying music video); Michael Bay – as “Team America” pointed out – STILL being allowed to make keep on making movies (and who exactly thought it a good idea to give him the greenlight to ruin The Transformers franchise exactly?!?); James Blunt selling MILLIONS of copies of his debut album, and so on. If there was any way that karma could re-address the balance and pay us back for the sufferings induced by these travesties (and perhaps, in the meantime, help restore our faith in good solid music), then it would be that The Pipettes track “Pull Shapes” became a massive summer hit sensation. I’m talking global Gnarls Barkley “Crazy” hugeness here.

After all, the song definitely has the potential. It has all the hallmarks of a beautifully breezy summer hit, be it the unmistakably Motown shifty vibe and string arrangement, a fresh and upbeat tune with an easy to remember chorus, a catchy hook that reels you in, punchy yet throwaway lyrics that thankfully don’t take themselves (too seriously and, most importantly of all, a melody that’s a piece of piss to hum, whistle or sing along to when drunk. In fact, all of these factors seem to fit the entire album, a fantastic formula that allows virtually every track to, at some point or other, stick in your head and drive you insane. Insane in a good way of course – happy insane if you will.

First track “We Are The Pipettes” kick off the female trio’s album and, although it contains a real clunker of a lyric (‘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’), it’s forgivable due to its snappy pace and statement of intent: they want you to damn well enjoy this album, Ivor Novello award-winning lyrics or not. As such, the album successfully retains its positively poppy edge throughout the album, consistently flowing from fun to more fun to even more fun and so on, chalking up at least 10 tracks (out of a total of 14) that could be released as singles – that’s just how immediate and catchy their radio-friendly sound is. The refreshingly happy pop of “Dirty Mind”, “ABC” and the glorious “Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me” all contain that lovely retro kitsch feel, harkening back to those famous Phil Spector-produced wall-of-sound tracks from The Ronettes, The Crystals et al. The achingly familiar cheekiness of “Why Did You Stay?”, with the blunt refrain ‘But he was so sweet / Oh Yeah? Well I’ve had just about enough of sweet!’ raising one of many smiles as this album descends on you.

In fact, the jovial atmosphere that this album creates in the listener seems to be pretty faultless, with only a couple of lyrics sounding a bit dodgy: the aforementioned title track and a few lines in “Judy” (‘But I never said anything to her face / cos her friends would say she’d kick my arse all over the place’ and ‘When you go home at night / are you still looking for a fight?’ are two glaring examples) fleetingly dulling this euphoric aural experience. If anything, it’s the innocent nature of the lyrics that keep the album so very appealing and enjoyable. It’s fitting that The Pipettes are on Memphis Industries, the record label that brought us The Go! Team a couple of years ago: both groups have an uncanny knack of producing a happy-go-lucky album that constantly makes your spirits soar. As The Go! Team start to limber up, ready to record their second album, I hope that the pair tour together. My fun-o-meter might not be able to take it. (Review by: J. M. Ross.)