Album Reviews

Album Review: The Pipettes – Earth Vs The Pipettes (Fortuna Pop)

By | Published on Tuesday 13 April 2010

The Pipettes

It’s all gone a bit Sugababes for The Pipettes. Four years ago they were they were the classiest girls in pop, backed with songwriter Monster Bobby’s swish, ambitious production – so in thrall of all things Phil Spector and 60s orchestral swing. But now none of the original Pipettes remain. Julia Clarke-Lowes carries on with The Indelicates, while Rose Elinor Dougall and Rebecca Stephens have tried the whole solo route.

Though Gwenno Saunders, who replaced Julia just before the group’s quite brilliant debut in 2006, is still there, and like Heidi Range in the aforementioned Babes, she was part of the classic Pipettes line up, despite not being a founder member. So she’s the continuity that justifies the use of the name that became synonymous with polka dots, pouts and pulling shapes.

Plus Monster Bobby is still behind the music, so this is still definitely a legit Pipettes outfit. Though, as Gwenno’s sister Ani takes to the mic as a new Pipette, the group do move on a little musically, briefly into the 21st century, but mainly by adopting an 80s sound. For, like Empire Of The Sun, The Pipettes are finding vibrancy in epic synth, and in album covers of wars in galaxies far, far away.

Those images reflect the sirens that introduce ‘Call Me’, before the punchy, carefree fun begins. That sort of thing is familiar to Pipette fans, of course, but the wall of sound ambitions are no longer here. Instead, it’s the sort of pop Bananarama shone with for a few brief years, with ‘Stop The Music’ and ‘Captain Rhythm’ in particular being future retro disco floorfillers.

Faces and styles may have changed, but a beating pop heart remains. And it’s a pretty catchy one, too. TM

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