The Pipettes - Earth VS The Pipettes

It’s an unexpected return that’s more utter shock than pleasant surprise.

The news wasn’t looking good. The good ship Pipette was way off course. Their captain – Roseay – had abandoned ship for a solo career and in the meantime they went through numerous disposable ‘red shirts’ and at last message told us that their next album was to be the sound of a disco from outer space. It was more than a pleasant surprise then to find that said transmission turned out to be a pop album of the highest order. The only remaining Pipette from the first mission – Gwenno – revealing herself to have been the navigator all along, knowing exactly where it was The Pipettes should be going and how it was they were going to get there.

The group’s initial mission statement was to take music to a time before The Beatles, and although they’re now pillaging bits of pop music from across the decades, by bypassing the lineage and cannon that has been established in that groups wake they’ve stayed true to their original manifesto. It shows in the music, with influences being those which we’ve long been taught to see as uncool and acceptable. That the resulting songs are delivered with the same mix of awkwardness and confidence that the old line-up showcased, means that despite everything this album could only ever be by The Pipettes.

Nearly every track on Earth Vs The Pipettes contains at least one moment which really shouldn’t work. On opener ‘Call Me’ this appears as a keyboard solo made up of sampled telephone sounds. ‘Thank You’ is brilliant despite being a little bit like Wham!. Somehow they nearly always get away with it. That’s not to say that it’s all critic proof. Towards the end of the record there is a little bit of filler. The appallingly named ‘I Vibe You’ is forgettable at best and the verses of ‘Finding My Way’ veer too close to MOR naffness.

Still, when The Pipettes are good they’re great. ‘Stop The Music’ is introduced by some finger clicking and not only is a perfect single, but is proof of the girls ability to craft timeless and truly soaring pop songs. ‘I Need A Little Time’ beautifully merges radio dance music with new wave guitar and ’50s girl group vocals. This is then seamlessly segued into the disco pop of ‘History’. ‘I Always Planned To Stay’ follows and completes a fantastic run of tracks. A slower number, it sounds like the sequel to the more sombre moments from the debut, after the narrator has left the disco and watches the sun rise on the following morning.

By the time they’re singing “He loves me again” on ‘Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen’ we’re nodding in agreement. Yes we do Pipettes. We love you again. Now please don’t take as long to come back for album number three. It’s an unexpected return that’s more utter shock than pleasant surprise, and whilst, like most pop music ever, there’s not a song here that can touch ‘Pull Shapes’, ‘Earth Vs The Pipettes’ is a corker. For all we know there could be many more changes in her crew before we next here from them, but let’s drink to The Pipettes and all who said in her.

Tags: The Pipettes, Reviews, Album Reviews

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