Album Reviews

The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes

(Memphis Industries) UK release date: 17 July 2006

Some bands are born brilliant. Some bands achieve brilliance. Some bands have brilliance thrust upon them. And then, some bands are The Pipettes. Far more excitingly, they stalked brilliance whilst it was out getting its hair done one balmy afternoon in Brighton, before tripping it up, sitting on it, and administering Chinese burns and noogies until it agreed to come out partying with them.

The next day, when brilliance awoke, the memories were foggy: “I remember polka-dots, I remember synchronized dancing, I remember the Shangri-La’s and I remember lots and lots of finger wagging, but I don’t remember much else. But bugger me, I remember it being fantastic…”

Brilliance may well be right. As summery albums go it’s difficult to imagine there being many which better fit a mood than We Are The Pipettes. Lord only knows if we’ll feel the same when the skies turn to grey, but at this point, who really cares?

More than anything, it’s the juggling of paradoxes that makes it so winning: it’s a, serious, frivolous album, sung by three girls who sound innocently naughty, in a manner which is incredibly old-fashioned, in a really up to the minute way.

The marvellously bitchy One Night Stand sounds like Be Your Own Pet put through elocution training at Roedean, It Hurts To See You Dance So Well is Sophie Ellis-Bextor being tried by The Ronettes for crimes against humanity on the set of Happy Days, and the gently swaying caress that is the quite wonderful Pull Shapes, with its lyrical/instrumental call and response (“Is that a drum beat?” / *thump thump thump*) is more enjoyable than being left alone with James Blunt in a room with no witnesses and a bat.

Even when they’re all happily infatuated (I Love You) they’re smart enough lyrically (“I’ve cooked you seven meals / six of them on which you choked”) and blissful enough melodically to make you swoon rather than hurl.

The fact that some of the nuggets on We Are The Pipettes are such perfect encapsulations of a simple, carefree idea does mean that certain songs are shown up: Dirty Mind never really locks in, a melody floating off into the ether when it should be burying itself into the depths of your subconscious (and not even lashings of hand-clapping can tether it down) and A Winter’s Sky oom-pa-pa’s along in a manner not seen since David Bowie scared the beejesus out of Bing Crosby several Christmases ago, but is just a bit grey and barren in such Technicolor company.

But anyway, there’s so much of this record that causes a big smile to split your face that it can’t be described as anything other than a success. Revitalising pop’s future by mining its past, they are The Pipettes. Any objections?

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More on The Pipettes
The Pipettes @ Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen, London
Interview: The Pipettes
The Pipettes – We Are The Pipettes
The Pipettes @ KCLSU, London