The Pipettes
We Are the Pipettes
(Cherry Tree / Interscope)


Self proclaimed "Polka-dot Princesses" – The Pipettes – are making their way over to the US next month to kick off their Record Release Tour; starting off in Chicago and hitting every First Market stop from New York to Los Angeles. I'm fortunate enough to be able to catch two of the shows, Los Angeles on the 25th, and a Halloween show in Portland on the 31st.  Why am I so damned stoked on this toothsome threesome? Well. Just look at them! They can sing, apparently they can dance too (and not like Shakira unfortunately), and they look good in polka dot dresses (which they made themselves… yay!).  The Pipettes are the next British import that will take over ever bit of the American market (including a Major Motion Picture…probably).  But hell…if the Spice Girls were still around I'd be begging to go to their concerts as well… and so would you.  The appeal of the Pipettes is multi-faceted: intelligent, well-written pop songs performed by attractive females. 

Well maybe it's not so complicated.  But that's what works.  I much more prefer new-wave do-wop to gangster rap or screamo.  I'm glad singers are finally coming out of their studio apartments and giving the whole fame-thing a try… and this trio is no exception.  The group is made up of Rosay – the dark, Hot Topic wearing, Funeral for a Friend listening songstress; RiotBecki – the intelligent, art school dropout to pursue her writing career grrrrrl; and Gwenno – the sassy, well dressed, conservative one who has followed the rules her whole life but is finally breaking free with the help of her sisters in crime.  And yes, all hot. 

Do you remember the song "They Don't Know About Love" by Tracey Ullman (I think that was the name)?  If you took the pop sensibility and catchiness of that song, stuck three gorgeous women in front of it, and wrote sixteen more songs in the same vein but all capable of their own success, you would have We Are the Pipettes.  Songs about dancing, love, friendship….um, dancing… keep your ears perked and your toes tapping, although it did wear on me after a while.  I'm not used to a plateau of happy pop.  Jarvis Cocker had countless songs that were upbeat and happy, but he was able to really shake your emotions as well.  I do think We Are the Pipettes is a decent album, but to be a great album, the group needs to give in to their real emotion and not hide behind the novelty.  Taken in stride, I think that this group will make an impact on American audiences that are sick of the negativity that flourishes through our airwaves.  I just like a little variety in my artists.  It's also a bit confusing when they have a press release that sounds like a recruitment for the Montana Militia. "A Battle-hymn in three part harmony"?  Only if your battle cry is I want to dance and make sexy time. I do have to quote this though: "If something is good, it's good," Gwenno concludes. "That's always quite clear, I think."  Sit on that one if you dare.

Mark Johnston, a native Californian, has travelled the world with various circuses, sideshows, and arena rock tours. As a musical monkey he has delighted fans the world over. Upon his return, he has since founded the Atomsmashers Publishing Company, written 2 books in the company's Warm Horchata series, created a weekly comic strip based around LA's more "colorful" characters, written reviews, articles, and rantings under various pseudonyms; this has since culminated in Johnston being named Captain Fabulous by the Superhero Association of America.