Today we celebrate the life of a girl group. In doing so, we also mourn their death.
ANBAD is in the useful and happy position of almost wholly writing positive words about bands and music, so allow me a rare, and brief, foray into negativity*. It is for good reason – an example, a lesson – for new bands on what not to do next.
The Pipettes are – were – my favourite girl group. Listen to their (old) bright, sharp and bold sound and you’ll quickly see why. Smart and fun, sexy and strong, retro without pastiche. They were almost perfect.
Why is not important now. Just look and learn. There is much to conclude, not least that replacing your two band mates with your sister might not be entirely conducive to creative interaction. It’s the songs: it’s always the songs. And these new songs are clunkers of the highest order.
A new direction was needed – it always is – but if you’re going to plough a new furrow, please God, don’t start cutting up the soil in the field marked ‘Lightweight Kim Wilde Pop Hell’. It’s so saddening to watch, but I can’t tear myself away.
One good way to ensure this doesn’t happen to you is to record songs that are wholly off the beaten track. Recording techno-surf songs about the Loch Ness Monster ensures, at least, that you’re not covering old ground.
Kudos to Orgone Accumulators, for spying the Scot-surf-rock/hitherto mythical monster niche and milking it.
On one hand, songs like About A Bicycle sound almost wholly daft; on the other there’s something so exuberant and alive about such joyful and devil-may-care music that who could begrudge them a smile?
Songs like this are constrained by their novelty, but then anyone who picks a definite style always is. You wouldn’t want to listen to three straight hours of this stuff, but that’s not what it is for. Fun is the order of the day here.
Perhaps Orgone Accumulators have also stared, long and hard, into the Pipette abyss, shuddered, and realised that their Nessie surf rock was a good idea after all. It would make sense. It couldn’t make any less sense than what The Pipettes have done.
*OK, not so rare. Bad Cover Versions is all like this.
Spot on about the Pipettes. They were ace in the old days… I remember getting Pull Shapes onto the Radio 2 A-List!!! T-U-N-E!!