The Pipettes review, Carling Academy Oxford

The Pipettes

In keeping with the history of glamorous pop trios, The Pipettes have undergone what they call in the business, a line up change. In that the band are effectively a brand new entity, with none of the original members left. But any preconceptions the audience might have had of inter-band awkwardness or forced camaraderie seemed to have been left at the door. And if there was any residual concern within the crowd, the band's carefree attitude would have immediately dispelled such fears.

Polka dot prom dresses and co-ordinated dancing filled the space in the upstairs of the Carling Academy in Oxford (October 26, 2008) even before the Pipettes came on stage, in homage to the trio's vintage style. There was a party atmosphere to the gig from the offset, which injected some much needed glamour and kitsch into the Academy's stark surroundings.

When the ladies sashayed on stage, led by a suited band, they certainly looked amazing. The charismatic Gwenno, the longest standing member, introduced newbies Anni (also her sister, trivia fans) and Anna, and led the way into what was a good old fashioned knees up. The changes in Pipettesland didn't seem to have dented the quality of music - the new songs were as infectious as the likes of "Pull Shapes" (they did); "Dirty" and, like the band's matching eighties style outfits, there was a hint of eighties pop infusing the newer material which was well received.

Of course it was the oldies people wanted to hear and they weren't disappointed - not only did tracks like "ABC" see the audience boogeying and handclapping with the best of them, they also treated the crowd to the girl's choreography. OK, so it wasn't up there with the likes of the Pussycat Dolls, but it looked like the threesome were having damn good fun. Their harmonies were pretty much bang on the money and I admit to being pleasantly surprised by how strong their voices were live. The Pipettes are pure pop with a credible indie cachet which means that their live show should definitely prove a success in any student town - and in my opinion, should be successful in a more mainstream sense as well.

This was quite possibly one of the shiniest, poppiest, and damn right catchiest gigs I suspect has graced the precincts of the Carling Academy for a long time. The band's retro leanings recall Phil Spector's girl groups but with a postmodern twist.

Live, they proved they can more than hold a tune. After listening to the Pipettes' attitude-filled Betty Boop style pop, there's only one question left to be answered (and it's rhetorical): Who needs Girls Aloud?!

The Pipettes on

The Pipettes Official Website

By: Lindsey Davis

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