Sunday, 31 January 2010

Chew Lips - Unicorn

After hearing The Plastician's remix of 'Salt Air' I couldn't help but eagerly anticipate Chew Lips' debut album, 'Unicorn'. However, the rest of the LP and the synth-by-numbers approach to production felt like a La Roux b-sides collection.

Featuring vocals that are somewhere between Florence & The Machine and Karen O, the album fails to make any sort of significant impact. The production is another gripe of mine: ripping off everyone from Devo to the Eurythmics and The Legendary Pink Dots, this album would have sounded dated and unoriginal 30 years ago, let alone now.

And that's precisely the problem with this current wave of quirky female singers all trying to exist in the realms of Annie Lennox and Kate Bush: they have none of the flair or originality. In fact, it's becoming increasingly apparent that La Roux, Little Boots, Goldielocks and anyone else of their ilk, are singing pretty good songs but with lazy production because they know that it doesn't really matter, as long as they get an "edgy" or "trendy" producer like Skream or The Plastician to add credibility with a remix that becomes way more popular than the original. Is that good? Is it good that the person who wrote the song couldn't even record the best version? No. No, it is not.

Having said that, their upcoming single 'Solo' (out on Kitsuné very soon) and their debut, 'Salt Air' do offer something in the way of promise (What better than a ballad about drink-driving to get the party started?!), but even then Tigs can't break out of Karen O-lite. And I know, I know they're deliberately trying to sound unoriginal so their sound doesn't date - hang on, how is that better? "Well, we knew it was a waste of time trying to produce anything original so we just smashed a Florence CD into the head of our keyboard player until his ears bled, flicked the Casio to stale and kicked back and watched Hollyoaks." Great. That doesn't make me depressed at all.

Ultimately, underneath all the knowing, ironic references and kitsch eighties productions they're no different to Girls Aloud - formulaic, saccharine, derivative and completely uninteresting. And would you look at them? That's what Andy Warhol would have looked like had he been a T4 presenter.

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