cat_reviews

Phil Spector Would Be Proud

April 21st, 2011

The Pipettes – Mercury Lounge – April 20, 2011

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The Pipettes appeared like an intensely fashion-coordinated vision, all in various permutations of checkered print, a throwback to a time when such collusion was charming, romantic and unironic. With two endearing female leads and an all-male backing band, they embrace the sounds of the ’50s without toting its misogynist social mores. The vocalists effusively thanked the crowd, and mentions of delayed passports and it having been such a long time since they’d played New York City would come later. For the moment, they were just two bubbly girls, their band and a series of killer dance moves to challenge a city steeped in cynicism, sarcasm and caustic irony. Without ruining the ending, one of these two entities—band or bitter urban milieu—would lose.

With one of its frontwomen an inspiring images of ’90s Cardigans singer Nina Persson and the other referencing the thick-rimmed glasses of an American Apparel librarian, the Pipettes are truly a different lineup from their original three-part-harmonies version. They opened with “Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me,” a song about, well, exactly what the title indicates. And this type of directness, unobfuscated by bullshit and snark, would be the theme of the night. The band quickly ran through, “My Heart’s a Bomb,” “Dirty Mind” and “Thank You,” all about exactly what you might think, before thanking the audience again.

The set closed in a moment of supreme good feelings with the band playing recent single “Stop the Music” before finishing with their most widely appreciated track, “Pull Shapes.” The final lyrics, “Dance with me pretty boy tonight,” which we have to assume was directed at those in the crowd, who obliged, perhaps admitting some kind of defeat to the two effervescent women onstage, their colors coordinated and their eyes sparkling. —Geoff Nelson