Album Review

Dansette Dansette

Dansette Dansette

by Tender Trap


Slumberland
8 / 10
30th September 2010

Reviewed by Brannavan Gnanalingam


Amelia Fletcher and Rob Pursey has been making for so long that the trend they helped originally promote –lo-fi twee pop – back in the 1980s has come full circle. While Sarah Records may have gone down as a mere footnote in indie music, the influence of Fletcher and Pursey’s bands Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, plus fellow Sarah Records label-mates like the Field Mice is easy to underestimate (heck, even the Hold Steady name-dropped Fletcher). However, the problem with this legacy might mean their latest release will slip under the radar whereas others with essentially the same m.o. get the coverage (c.f. Best Coast, Vivian Girls et al), suggesting that the fickle hype machine usually wants something young and new (rather than novel). It’s easy, after all, to ignore people who have simply been consistently good. Dansette Dansette is the third album by Fletcher and Pursey’s latest band Tender Trap and features the joyful melodies and ragged, raw guitars which they have used to build their career.

The album clearly plays to singer Fletcher and the band’s strengths: witty literate lyrics (Fletcher has a PhD which I guess they don’t just give away) which don’t seem overbearing and add the requisite barbs to what would be otherwise overwhelmingly coy, gorgeous harmonies (one of the album’s main joys), and an emotional honesty which comes from the raw playing and production. It also compensates for her weaknesses well – her thin voice works with the guitar work, and the samey-ness in the sound adds a kind of unifying feel to the album (if limiting in its impact). Whereas Tender Trap’s previous work had an electronic slant to them, this is almost straight-up rock n roll.

The album gets off to a strong start with the title track and ‘Fireworks’, all sugary-sweet melodies and plenty of energy. It doesn’t really flag from then on, and the album features consistently strong songs. The album’s highpoint is ‘Do You Want a Boyfriend’ in which Fletcher’s sharp lyrics are matched to a melody which is undeniably catchy. The shoegazery ‘Suddenly’ explodes into ‘Girls With Guns’, which adds a bit of punkish (within reason) energy to the album. ‘2 to the N’ is another energetic highlight – suggesting that if the band were to ever tour again, then they could put on a pretty fun show. While the album is fairly predictable, it’s a comforting and comfortable listen – it’s also proof that sometimes those who have been doing it for a while should also be relied on to be able to do it well.




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