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Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010

  by Russell Ferguson

published: 1 / 6 / 2010

Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010


Girl group the Pipettes recently returned to live work in a new line-up after a long absence. At a show at Fibbers in York to promote their forthcoming second album 'Earth vs Pipettes', Russell Ferguson is captivated by their infectious harmonies and current lo-fi electronic disco sound

We all have musical influences and mine stem from the rock and roll era. My dad was a Teddy Boy so I was brought up on Buddy Holly, Elvis, Bobby Vee, Bill Haley and the early Beatles.For me all modern music can be traced back to the early rock ‘n’ roll era. There is something about a three chord structure and twelve bars blues that is hard not to get drawn into. No wonder it is sometimes called the Devil's music. I think there isn’t such a big jump in music styles from punk or rockabilly to rock ‘n’ roll. It appears to me to be volume, aggression and attitude that separate these genes of music. I am always interested in bands that acknowledge rock ‘n’ roll as a style to work upon, but it is hard to find anyone who has been able to form their unique sound without sounding like a covers band or a rip off merchant. For all of the above points you have no idea how much I love the Pipettes for ticking all the boxes that I look for - great songs, funny and cutting lyrics, top music that is more infectious than the common cold, a backing band that never play a bum note and to top it all singers who are all very easy on the eye. Little wonder the Pipettes made a lot of in roads with their 2006 debut album ‘We Are the Pipettes'. It would appear three girls singing lo-fi Phil Spector style harmonies still has a place in the British charts. Here I am in York to watch the Pipettes and I haven’t been this excited to see a band in ages. There have been some line up changes most noticeably with the female singers, Gwenno Saunders being the only original singer from the debut album. She is joined by her sister Ani, so I’m not quite sure what we are going to get at tonight’s show. There have been a couple clues of what we can expect from the band’s website site. ‘Our Love Was Saved by Spacemen’ was released almost a year ago and more recently ‘Stop the Music’. Both of these singles have an electro-disco feel to them. As the backing band, the Cassettes, get set up in the dark we can see the two singers peeking through the stage door and, like two school girls who have been caught sneaking about, giggling at themselves. When they take the plunge on to the stage, it is to loud applause. Despite a depleted turn out those here are making up for the absent. They soon find their feet and their timing and start with a succession of new songs, ‘Need a Little Time’, ‘Ain’t No Talking’ and ‘Call Me’, all of which all sound great. Despite being unknown songs, they all have an instant appeal. They come across as being catchy and easy to get into. The next song is ‘Dirty Mind’ from the debut album, which the crowd feels more comfortable with and joins in with some of the lyrics. Gwenno introduces the next song, ‘Stop the Music’, as their upcoming single and what a cracker of a song it is too. Despite being an unknown song the crowd start to join in which adds to my first thought that these songs are catchy as hell. The girls do little dance routines, which comes across as cute and innocent more than slick and professional. If they had worked on the dance routines any more than they have done it would detract from the songs. Happily they have got the balance right. It’s almost as if they are poking fun at bigger acts like Girls Aloud by concentrating on the vocals more than the dance routines. As so many of the songs being played tonight are new, there is no easing fans into a new sound. These guys are grabbing people by the throat and saying, "What do you think of this sound?" They’re not willing to let preconceptions get in the way of this new music and I do think that is a brave thing to do. There are some tracks from ‘We Are the Pipettes’ and these all go down well but then you expect that from familiar songs. The Pipettes' latest sound is more sophisticated than their previous material, but it’s done very well. They still have that sense of humour in their lyrics, which adds to the point that they don’t take themselves too seriously. When Gwenno tells us it’s time for them to go, it comes with a sense of disappointment as I’m having too much fun to want this gig to end, So where did the time go? Tonight’s encore is ‘Pull Shapes’ their biggest hit to date from back in 2006 and the crowd joins in to make it a happy farewell. The Pipettes in their latest incarnation can best be described as a lo-fi disco electronic band. The songs are infectious and catchy. In the same way they took rock ‘n’ roll as a basis to work upon on their first album so they have done the same here but using electronic disco as the foundation instead. I fear they are back to square one again with this sound, the touring, the endless interviews, the crap meeting of record label fat cats who don’t have a clue about music, playing the small venues again and so on, but it goes to show that the Pipettes aren’t a manufactured band but a band that is very much in control of its own destiny and they are willing to do the work to get there. In the past they were compared with the advert ‘Sheila Wheels’ so who will they be compared with this time? Scissors Sisters? Girls Aloud? I don’t think it’s fair to compare second-rate bands with the Pipettes.

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Picture Gallery:-
Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010

Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010

Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010

Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010

Pipettes - Fibbers, York, 7/5/2010

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digital downloads


Boo Shuffle (2011)
Gorgeous vinyl only comeback single from still under-rated girl group the Pipettes, who have returned as two-piece
Dirty Mind (2005)

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