thu 01/06/2023

CD: Tender Trap - Ten Songs About Girls | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Tender Trap - Ten Songs About Girls

CD: Tender Trap - Ten Songs About Girls

Femme-indie outfit deliver some hits but more misses

Sweet dreams... of the Close Lobsters and The Bodines

Before acid house came along and saved our souls, there was no nation-embracing socio-musical phenomenon to latch onto. Outside of mainstream pop and niche heavy metal, there was hip hop, but that was adamantly American at the time, there was retro “rare groove” funk, and there was post-C86 indie.

C86 was a tape put together by the NME of a generation of bands – Shop Assistants, The Pastels, Primal Scream and so on – who applied a shambling Velvet Underground aesthetic to whimsical English tweeness. It turned out to be a dead end but kept thing ticking over until the ecstasy arrived.

It was something of surprise, then, to discover a few years back that hotly touted act, Tender Trap, was fronted by Amelia Fletcher, the singer from Talulah Gosh, a definitively twee post-C86 indie act. Tender Trap’s last couple of albums have gathered critical plaudits and their rare live appearances have become go-to events. Their fourth album sticks with the programme and boasts ten songs of jangle-pop sweetness, laced with strong feminine sensibilities. Each song’s success depends on the ratio of saccharine to lyrical pith and catchiness (as well as whether the listener can handle Fletcher’s cutesy voice). The best of it, such as the opening Primitives-like “Kings Cross Station”, the shouty Phil Spector-ish “Step One” (containing the feisty chorus “Sing all night and sleep in the afternoon”) and the really very lovely “Memorabilia”, are welcome slices of English songwriting with wit and pop suss. There is, however, also much aboard that, while carefully produced rather than lo-fi, is far less memorable.

The fact that Tender Trap are a going concern in the age of David Guetta is curiously heartening but, like the style they adopt, they are a slice of yesterday upgraded to the present and to make that work they need stronger material than much of what’s on show here.

Watch the video for "Step One"

Their fourth album boasts ten songs of jangle-pop sweetness, laced with strong feminine sensibilities


Editor Rating: 
Average: 2 (1 vote)

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