Review of Unicorn Album by Chew Lips

After guesting for Delphic on their recent tour, and by way of a preliminary warm-up to their own headline dates, Chew Lips should, as you read, be captivating and wowing expectant young Americans on a four night stint in Austin Texas. Showcasing their talents to an ever bigger and more appreciative audience the sarf London triumvirate of Tigs, Will & James will be hoping to 'go down a storm' in front of the eager SXSW burgeoning masses.

Formed in 2008, Chew Lips were almost immediately thrust into the limelight by Steve Lamacq's attention, and his request that they be included in the line up for that years Electric Proms on the 'Introducing' stage. Following many more gigs, a few singles, the odd relatively successful dance remix and some very complimentary critique, Chew Lips have produced their debut album 'Unicorn'.

Synth drenched, arcade game sampling, seriously danceable proper pop is always going to be difficult to resist. Somewhat reminiscent of the early Eurythmics as they 'found their sound' towards their second album with 'Sweet Dreams', and before they over produced the bejesus out of it with their next, Unicorn is a fabulous mixture of electro, synth, sequencer and tantalising female vocal. Throw in some guitar and bass to avoid tedium and voila, a triumph of chart troubling tunes. Well, that's the way it should be, time will tell if they've missed the 80's retro boat or if they can set themselves apart.

Chew Lips Unicorn Album

Some bewildering lyrical delights are a great USP for starters and the opener 'Eight' is full to the brim...... "Such confusion can't be good, though my house is made of wood, I can throw stones if I please, can't set fire my gathered leaves". The amusement arcade 'synth war' that shoots along in the background builds and breaks so effectively that you don't really care. This is pop with a passion. The first single release from the new album, 'Play Together', keeps the techno beat going. Chew Lips up the ante with a more catchy loop and intensified, chorus laden, vocal.

As if played in set order, to cleverly work the crowd into a frenzied state, before mellowing out into thoughtful reflection for a while, track #3 'Slick' arrives to ensure there is no let up in deliriously resplendent pop-electronica. 'Karen', the next single, (due for release 29th March) slows things a little and introduces us to the guitars and bass of Will Sanderson and James Watkins, respectively. Vocally it gives Tigs her chance to show just how broad her range is. The focal point for the band has a great voice, powerful when necessary, slightly suggestive at times and as smooth as foil. 'Too Much Talking' takes on a slightly more orchestral feel in a Giorgio Moroder kinda way. Think ending credits to your favourite sci-fi movie.

Elsewhere, 'Seven' pumps out the beat driven pop on yet another sure fire dance floor filler. 'Two Hands' plinks along behind soaring vocals and then 'Gold Key' takes us on a slightly darker, industrially fuelled, distortion doused techno trip. Finally, 'Piano Song', is what it says, a torch song to piano but then over laid with fuzzy synths. ..........and the beat goes on!

Chew Lips album, 'Unicorn', is full of fabulously shallow pure pop peaches. The South London trio, with the help of 'Fur And Gold' producer David Kosten, have deftly encapsulated their electro-pop beats into a very accomplished debut. Hopefully the inclusion of their name on more than a couple of 2010 watch lists will not deter them from continuing to make such a decent noise.

Andrew Lockwood.

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