One of my favorite musical discoveries in the past few years was a group called the Pipettes, the most visible part of which was three cute British girls wearing polka dots and singing songs that sound a lot like stuff Phil Spector would have produced in the sixties (you know, back before he started murdering people).
After their debut album, it apparently took them forever to come up with new material, but their second album Earth vs. the Pipettes is out now. The lineup of the singers has changed quite a bit over time, with the only one remaining from the first album being Gwenno Saunders, whose younger sister Ani joined the group after the other two singers left. There have been two other third girls, Anna and Beth, in the intervening time, but it appears to be just Gwenno and Ani singing on the album.
The organizer and guitarist Monster Bobby is still there, though. So, how does this new album stack up to the first one? Well, honestly, that album was so good that it’s unlikely anything could quite live up to it. It seems like the band made an effort to change up the sound somewhat; it’s still fun girl-based pop music, but it isn’t as much of a throwback. And at least to me, it doesn’t come across as having the tongue-in-cheek quality that most of their earlier stuff did, even if there is a song called “Our Love Was Saved by Spacemen.” Overall, it didn’t have the impact on me that their first album did, but it’s still good, catchy, cute music.
While I’m on the subject, Rose Elinor “Rosay” Dougall, one of the Pipettes from the first album, has a solo album, Without Why. I’ve listened to it a few times, and I think it has a very pleasant sound, but few of the songs really stand out for me. My favorite is the one that I believe was her first solo single, “Another Version of Pop Song.” It’s more mellow than the Pipettes, but I’d still say it’s worth checking out for fans of the band. And she really does have a great voice. I’m hoping Rebecca Stephens (AKA RiotBecki) also releases something, as she was my favorite from the Pipettes’ first album lineup.