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Earth Vs The Pipettes

March 17, 2010 by  

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Earth Vs The Pipettes

The Pipettes were never your typical pop band and now they’re back to prove it. They’ve put the polka dot dresses on ice, brought the boys out of the shadows and had a change in the girl department too. Their musical roots of sculpted, self-confessed, unabashed pop remain intact, but with a fresh new take.

What’s the music like?

June 28th sees the release of The Pipettes eagerly anticipated second album ‘Earth Vs The Pipettes’. Written with the idea of imagining what a disco in space would sound like, the record is an exploration of what might happen if all the genres and styles that have set the dance floor going for the last fifty years were loaded onto a rocket and fired into the stars. What would Motown’s transition as Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross started to veer into Philly Soul and the emerging compositions of Larry Levan sound like if that development had happened on Mars? (Answers: ‘I Vibe You’; ‘I Always Planned To Stay’; and ‘Our Love Was Saved By Spacemen’). What would the disco divas and social misfits of the Seventies be listening to if Studio 54 existed on a giant space station orbiting Saturn? (Answers: ‘From Today’; ‘Stop The Music’). How would the motorik Euro pop of the Eighties such as the Human League and Stock, Aitken and Waterman translate into the bedrooms of the children of the Eighties if they lived on some cool planet we’d never heard of? (Answers: ‘Call Me’, ‘Thank You’).

Where have they been?

In their first incarnation, donning polka dot dresses and referencing the girl groups of the late fifties in the heyday of skinny tie indie music, The Pipettes had remarkable success. A top ten album in Japan where the single ‘Pull Shapes’ was only kept off the number one spot by J-Lo, top ten radio positions all across Europe, two Top Forty hits in the UK and a Top Ten in the US billboard indies. They played on the main stages at Reading and Glastonbury, blazed a British trail across SXSW, conquered the world and sold a heap of records. Since then they’ve been working on their new album with legendary Martin Rushent, the semi-retired producer of The Stranglers, Shirley Bassey, and, most famously, the Human League’s ‘Dare’.


So who’s in the line up now?

Drummer Joe Lean left to find his Jing Jang Jong and Rose Elinor Dougall and RiotBecki left for solo careers away from what the band term” self-manufactured pop”. No bodies under the floorboards, no dramas, just the usual churn in pop bands… Joe, Rose and Becki had their own talents to explore whilst The Pipettes remain focused on exploring pop. And besides, The Pipettes retain a great vocalist in Gwenno Saunders, the lead singer on The Pipettes biggest hit to date “Pull Shapes” and living proof that the Welsh, from Jones and Bassey onwards, have the best pipes. Gwenno’s sister Ani, a talented songwriter and a star in her own right with her own fashion makeover show on Welsh TV, was recruited to reinforce that theory, and Alex White (of The Electric Soft Parade and Brakes) completed the new line-up on drums alongside original members Gwenno, Monster Bobby (guitar), Jon (bass) and Seb (keyboard). Most importantly the songwriting talent behind the band’s biggest hits to date remain.

www.myspace.com/thepipettes | www.thepipettes.com

TOUR DATES

APRIL 2010
18TH FAC251 MANCHESTER
19TH O2 ACADEMY 2 SHEFFIELD
20TH HOXTON BAR & GRILL LONDON
21ST AUDIO BRIGHTON
22ND NEW SLANG (CLUB) KINGSTON
25TH WEDGEWOOD ROOMS PORTSMOUTH
26TH JOINERS SOUTHAMPTON

MAY 2010
7TH FIBBERS YORK
8TH O2 ACADEMY 2 LIVERPOOL
14TH INSIDE OUT DARLINGTON
15TH O2 ACADEMY 2 BIRMINGHAM
21ST THE BOX CREWE
22ND PARCC HALL SOUTH WALES

Who Are The Pipettes?

Girls singing retro-tinged tunes with synchronised dance moves? A Machiavellian pop experiment inspired by KLF’s The Manual cooked up in a Brighton boozer by the mysterious Svengali Monster Bobby? Well yes, but there’s been an evolution – a change in the genetics. The Pipettes are back, and now they’re a big shiny pop group. Or at least, that’s what they’d like you to believe.

In their first incarnation, donning polka dot dresses and referencing the girl groups of the late fifties in the heyday of skinny tie indie music, The Pipettes had remarkable success. A top ten album in Japan where the single ‘Pull Shapes’ was only kept off the number one spot by J-Lo, top ten radio positions all across Europe, two Top Forty hits in the UK and a Top Ten in the US billboard indies. They played on the main stages at Reading and Glastonbury, blazed a British trail across SXSW, conquered the world and sold a heap of records.

Having destroyed the male cock rock hegemony of the noughties and after Ronson, Winehouse, Duffy et al, the whole mini-movement that snowballed inexorably from that first polka-dot sleeved 7″, one might think the sensible thing for The Pipettes to have done, would be to simply sashay back in town with a sound as close as possible to the one we know them for and reclaim their rightful place at the head of the table. Not The Pipettes. They had promises to keep. A manifesto to follow. A five year plan.

Those promises were going to have to be kept with the loss of some personnel. Drummer Joe Lean left to find his Jing Jang Jong and Rose Elinor Dougall and RiotBecki left for solo careers away from what the band term “self-manufactured pop”. No bodies under the floorboards, no dramas, just the usual churn in pop bands… Rose, Joe and Becki had their own talents to explore whilst The Pipettes remain focused on exploring pop. And besides, The Pipettes retain a great vocalist in Gwenno Saunders, the lead singer on The Pipettes biggest hit to date “Pull Shapes” and living proof that the Welsh, from Jones and Bassey onwards, have the best pipes. Gwenno’s sister Ani, a talented songwriter and a star in her own right with her own fashion makeover show on Welsh TV, was recruited to reinforce that theory, and Alex White (of The Electric Soft Parade and Brakes) completed the new line-up on drums alongside original members Gwenno, Monster Bobby (guitar), Jon (bass) and Seb (Keyboard).

And so the molecular reconstruction of The Pipettes began, to alter the DNA of the band into pure pop format, leaving behind the realm of the three female harmony girl-group for the unison girl pop of Abba and the Pointer Sisters, moving towards the sounds of Chic-inspired seventies disco and eighties chart music. At the insistence of their international major label that Mark Ronson produce the new record the band walked away from their recording contract to seek their own collaborators for the project. This led them to the door of the legendary Martin Rushent, the semi-retired producer of The Stranglers, Shirley Bassey, Altered Images, The Buzzcocks and, most famously, the Human League’s ‘Dare’. A single listen to the band’s demos was all it took to persuade him to pull the gloves on for one last time. (Martin is now working on a remix album of the record, his first since the pioneering Love and Dancing’ remix album of ‘Dare’ despite hundreds of requests to do others.)

Now the regeneration is complete, the polka-dot dresses swapped for alien chic and the talented musicians behind the singers released from the shadows to emerge as a two-girl fronted, six-piece pop band ready to do battle with the X Factor wannabes and soulless R’n’B grinds clogging up the charts. The first single to be taken from the forthcoming second album will be ‘Stop The Music’, out April 19, with a second single and the album to follow in the summer. ‘Earth Vs The Pipettes’ is the name of the full-length record and it’s chockfull of classic influences and killer pop songs, the kind of album that major labels struggle to make with teams of producers and writers, knocked out by a bunch of pop theorists from Brighton, a pair of golden voices from the valleys and a hibernating genius of a producer. Once again The Pipettes are ready to use the past to trail blaze into the future.

The Pipettes: Gwenno, Ani, Monster Bobby, Seb, Alex and Jon






 

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