Chew Lips – Unicorn (Family) 25/01/2009

January 25, 2010 by  

2009 saw electro-pop hit mass hysteria, and it became a wonder to me how the likes of the NME-writer-dating Little Boots, or the gimmicky-quiff-sporting La Roux made it so big with their average to bad voices and so-so singles (maybe Bullet-proof aside) taking helm of the electro-pop scene.

This scene became overloaded with similar artists, as hype once again took over common sense, so when the electro-pop London trio Chew Lips released two sublime singles, ‘Solo’ and follow-up ‘Salt Air’ they became the years rose amongst the thorns, if you will.

With Chew Lips it was quite clear the emphasis was on pop, so it was hard to understand how these two singles were left out of debut album Unicorn. Then I heard it.

Album opener ‘Eight’ presents us with a teasing bassline presenting lead singer Tigs – herself a Karen O in the making – and her superb vocals soaring before the beat proper, with all manner or synth buzzes and dashes of tambourine to keep you occupied.

The pace builds with single ‘Play Together’, which is neat, simple and catchy. Not a big tune but again it’s keeping you in, for first real treat ‘Slick’, which is just that. Infectious repetitive basslines, synth arpeggios and seductive vocals make this sound almost hip-hop in parts, but reminiscent of ’80s house tunes. Like Spank Rock having sex with Friendly Fires.

The single worthy tracks come thick and fast here on in. Sassy ‘Karen’ has the electro pulse of the underrated Delays, but is as bold as a female fronted Killers track, and album highlight is the majestic ‘Toro’ – probably as it’s the most likely floor filler, and a track warranting mainstream superstardom.

Album closers ‘Golden Key’ and ‘Piano song’ help you wind down from the party, with Tigs reminding you how good she can sing over what sound like ballads from another criminally underrated band of last year, Golden Silvers.

At 10 tracks long and just over half an hour, Unicorn is an intense hit, or an intense collection of hits, leaving you wanting more – and I guess that can only be a good thing.

Ok so it’s not a classic album, but it will probably be one of the best pop albums this year, whether underrated or hyped to hysteria. What Chew Lips have created with Unicorn is an introduction to the band, and my, what an entrance.

[rating:4]


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