The Long Blondes - Couples
Lara O'Reilly 01/04/2008
Teamed with DJ Erol Alkan, The Long Blondes are back with their troublesome second album, 'Couples'. In difficult, second album style, the Blondes have chosen to begin by changing their sound with some self-indulgent electro. Sure it still has the Kate Bush influences, but they're the bad, bland parts. The instrumental sounds like the demo on a cheap Casio keyboard. The problem is, it's meant to sound like that which just makes it even more grating. It's called 'Century' which is fitting, as the song is so boring it seems like it lasts that long. To make matters worse, it's their first single. Where has the punk gone? Where has the half-decent taste in music gone? Erol Alkan, you've got a lot to answer for.
“Guilt” (has nothing to do with it) is the title of track two and probably had something to do with chucking that crap Casio keyboard out and reverting back to a slightly more familiar sound. Familiar for a Girls Aloud single that is.
Predictably, the production is far sharper than the debut album. But I think most people would rather listen to the grit of 'Lust in the Movies' though. Even the most anthemic of songs are polished up like a bimbo's nails. How Kate Jackson manages to make a chant sound glam I just don't know ('Here Comes the Serious Bit'). She could sing Ave Maria and still somehow make it sound sexy.
As well as a DJ producer it seems like they've nicked Pulp's keyboardist in certain aspects. Well they certainly ain't having Jarvis. “Round the Hairpin” could be a B-side on a Pulp single, except it is more soft porn than Hardcore.
It sounds like the band are trying to emulate their idols, rather than doing what they're good at- being themselves. “Erin O'Connor” is another indie disco number which will be a single not doubt, but it's everything Blondie did before (A nice grimey guitar though). Then there's “Too Clever By Half”, an understated falsetto number that should have been left to a hidden track, and “Nostalgia” is only worth listening to because it uses the word 'breakfast'- an under-used meal in love songs.
However we do end this disappointing album with a lovely lyric “I'm going to hell so I may as well make it worth my while”. But come to think of it, “Lovely” shouldn't really be an adjective for a song about going to hell though should it? It sounds more like a little girl cheekily admitting she's been throwing out the fruit her mummy puts in her lunchbox and eating penny chews instead. It's hardly hell-raising and the 50s rock 'n' roll style piano doesn't exactly help the situation.
The Long Blondes tried to do something a little bit different with their second album “Couples” but got cautious after only the first track. They've accessorised their sound rather than having a complete makeover. Minus the dire opening, any Long Blondes fan should probably at least download this album, but the rest of us would do better to steer clear.
I Liked the Boys
Here Comes the Serious Bit
Round the Hairpin
Too Clever by Half
I'm Going to Hell