Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Couples - The Long Blondes

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Someone To Drive You Home was my album of 2006, quite comfortably as it turned out. From start to finish it was a modern masterpiece. Notwithstanding the lack of an actual hit, it was an album packed full of singles, yet held together as it's own entity. And I'd think that even if Kate Jackson wasn't sex-on-legs.

Three tracks in, the follow up Couples seems to be heading for a similarly winning run. Century proves that adding synths to the mix (replacing the jangly guitars that were their trademark) was a good idea. Jackson has rarely sounded better and the insistent tune is soon lodged in your brain.

Guilt could have drowned in it's Disco beat, but lyrically it's classic Long Blondes and is one of those songs that gets better with every listen. The Couples is perhaps the song on the album that most could have fitted in on STDYH and as well as having a killer tune once again brings the biting wit of the Blondes to the fore.

So far so good then? Sadly it's pretty much a downhill ride from here, or at least you've got as good as your going to get in the first three tracks.

I Liked The Boys and Here Comes The Serious Bit basically forget to pack a tune in alongside the other ingredients, and Nostalgia may well achieve it's probable aim of reminding you of the early 80's but that doesn't stop it being a terrible song. Things reach a possible nadir with Too Clever By Half. I still can't make my mind up if it's so bad it's good, or whether it's just plain awful. I'm half tempted to think it's someone's bad idea of a joke.

At least Round The Hairpin and Erin O'Connor mean that the last two thirds of the album isn't a complete wash out but, especially after the blinding opening, it's all too much of a disappointment.

There are signs that they still have more to offer, and at the least they should be commended for resisting the temptation to record another STDYH and waiting for the money to roll in. Still that doesn't change the fact that, for this listener at least, Couples is very much a let-down.

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