Girls Gone Bad
The Pipettes’ debut album We Are The Pipettes is retro fun. They’re bad in a 50’s girl-group-with-teased-hair kind of way, unruly and experienced like the Pink Ladies in Grease, and they sing with English accents. What’s not to love? The group primarily consists of three women: Becki, Gwenno, and Rose, brought together by Monster Bobby, guitarist of their all-boy backup-band The Cassettes. Monster Bobby is an integral, though silent, partner having introduced the trio and written many of their songs.
Like pop idol Amy Winehouse, they’ve embraced the sound of an era, but they lack Winehouse’s sense of soul. On their best tracks, they combine the Go-Go’s devil-may-care, naughty enthusiasm with the harmony of an old Phil Spector production.
The title track, “We Are The Pipettes,” is a fitting opener. They harmonize, “We’re the prettiest girls you’ve ever met.” It’s not hard to imagine them on a black-and white-TV, singing on American Bandstand. Never mind they’re not so naâˆšÃ˜ve, singing songs like “Because It’s Not Love,” with the lyrics “I don’t want to be wined and dined / I just want to bump and grind with you here tonight.”
The Pipettes sing with the nonchalant coldness of Robert Palmer’s video back-up band on tracks like “One Night Stand,” declaring, “I don’t want you / If you think that this is cruel / Then you should see what my friends do.” On “Why Did You Stay,” which opens with the rev of a motorcycle and is heavy on harmonies, they sing “But he was so sweet / Oh yeah / Well I’ve had just about enough of sweet.”
Don’t look for lots of meaning from the Pipettes’ debut, We Are the Pipettes. It’s good and harmless contrived fun.