Talent in a Previous Life

Because It's Never Just About the Music

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pip, Pip, Hooray! 

So, last week we told you that the single greatest pop record of the year was now available in the shops and then, with our usual dedication to duty, promptly said nothing more about it, despite having made some promises in that general direction. Well! We can now reveal, as even a cursory glance at the release schedule should have told you, said top quality track is none other than Pull Shapes by The Pipettes, our, and surely the world's, favourite polka-dot clad princesses. Pull Shapes is a euphoric rush of sugary sweet sass-pop, all retro-modern girl-band aceness with more hook lines than an overstocked tackle shop. It soars gloriously to the sort of pop heights which cause problems with air traffic control and generally makes the whole affair seem so effortless that you have to wonder why more singles aren't this good. In short, it's nothing less than Girls Aloud without the budget.

But they don't just stun your senses into submission in recorded format. Oh, no, live they're roughly as amazing as watching a magician make Paul Daniels disappear, then forgetting to bring him back again afterwards. We know this to be true as we went to see them perform for our - and, admittedly, quite a few other people's - pleasure on Wednesday night. Support came from Young Pretty Things, who seemed to be a bit rubbish, but we only caught the end of their set as we had to trawl the streets of Glasgow trying to find our mate's ticket which she had promptly lost within seconds of us handing it to her and 'hilariously' saying "Now be careful and don't lose this", and The 1990s who are ace, but where seriously hampered by crap sound at the start of their set.

There was nothing to hamper the main event, though. Looking for all the world like three girls who've been practicing their moves in nothing more fancy than their own bedrooms - a good thing, by the way - their ramshackle yet enthusiastic performance showed far more pizazz and originality than the vast majority of pop bands who spend hour after hour rehearsing in professional spaces until even the merest hint of joy gets sucked out of them. Their moves may not always be entirely in synch, their harmonies occasionally a touch off, but the sheer, unadulterated genius at the heart of the band comes shining through like the shaft of light which beams up from atop the Luxor casino in Las Vegas. They have the look, they have the attitude and, more than that, they have the songs to match. Few bands could get away with declaring that they like a boy in uniform (school uniform) - and we would certainly suggest that Michael Jackson thinks twice before attempting to cover it - but The Pipettes manage it, always staying on just the right side of the good pop/novelty trash divide.

They are the Pipettes, and they're not done with us yet. And, frankly, neither are we with them.