The Pipettes
The Rescue Rooms
Live Review
23rd September

The Pipettes

Once upon a time, "proper" pop music was considered to consist of vocal groups of either or both sexes cooing in harmony over a simplistic tune complete with matching attire and a synchronised dance routine to boot. Sometime round 1973 and the introduction of glam rock that concept pretty much died a death, and despite various efforts to revive it - mostly in a ludicrously uncouth manner - that kind of altruistic pop has continued to push up the daisies ever since.

Until now that is, as Brighton based trio The Pipettes seem to have taken their Phil Spector meets Hamble and Jemima (the Play School dolls) down the local charity shop away from the freshers balls and variety clubs and into the mainstream. And for that, we should all be thankful, as The Pipettes are quite clearly beyond any kind of "serious rock'n'roll" analysis. To the point in fact, where even the most pompously po-faced Radiohead chin stroker might raise an eyebrow followed by a wee smile at their out of time dancing if nothing else.

You see, what we have here is possibly the most unpretentious group currently doing the circuit, not to mention the best dressed. Indie by nature, pop by name. As for the tunes themselves, they aren't half bad either.

Sure, most of the songs take on a similar theme (boy fancies girl, girl says no, girl dumps boy) and there's more than a knowing glance to the Pink Ladies from Grease in their repertoire, not to mention the girls from the Sheila's Wheels adverts as one person standing to my left suggested within moments of the first few notes of 'Judy'.

Although not blessed with the greatest voices technically, what Rose, Becky and Gwenno offer is an A-Class in entertainment, and while it may border on the edge of the Cheddar gorge at times, there isn't a dull moment from when the opening lines of 'Sex' kick off proceedings to when oldie 'I Like A Boy In Uniform (School Uniform)' rounds off the encore, sweat dripping off both band members and audience alike.

Aside from the singles and choice cuts from underrated debut album 'We Are The Pipettes', there's even time for a new one - possibly called 'Don't Leave Me Alone' - which sees Gwenno take lead vocals and almost split herself in two reaching the highest of high notes in the process.

"They'll be stacking shelves and playing graduation balls in twelve months time", says know-it-all at the bar afterwards, but he was probably saying that this time last year as well. Whatever the future holds for The Pipettes, round about now they're probably the most exciting act British pop music has to offer, so cherish them while you can.

Dom Gourlay

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