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Girls Can't Catch - 'Echo'

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Fraser McAlpine | 15:15 UK time, Monday, 11 January 2010

Girls Can't Catch

The rules of pop demand that, at any given time, 50% of the records which are massive hits, and 95% of the records which are trying to become massive hits broadly share the same musical DNA. This can be for financial reasons, as if every hot new musical idea is like a seam of pure gold which needs to be mined until there's none left. Or, it can be because trying to make pop music without an amazing original idea of your own involves knowing exactly what pop music sounds like currently, and cutting your cloth to fit.

(Amazing original ideas are, of course, incredibly rare. Nobody ever has more than a couple, so it's no insult to point out that most of the time everyone is swimming in the same little pool, creatively speaking.)

(Here's the video. "Get out of the way, I can't see Emmerdale!", says the lighthouse keeper.)

This is why it's perfectly fine for Girls Can't Catch to release a song which could not exist if certain other songs had not already been released. Those songs include 'Umbrella', and 'Battlefield', songs which prove that pop music can be just as enormous and epic and grand as Snow Patrol-style indie music, but without all the mumbling.

The only slight quibble is that they've introduced a note of self-consciousness to proceedings. It's not really their fault, but there's something very deliberate about a singing the word echo, in the middle of a song which is as cavernous as...as...a really big cavern, the kind of cavern in which you would definitely hear a lot of echoes.

In a lot of ways, a tip of the wink like this is very welcome. You the performer get to let your audience know that you know that you're just singing a silly song, and not actually emoting from the very core of your being. They get to feel like they're in on a big joke, which makes them feel special, and everyone's happy.

On the other hand, a song of this scale should probably be played a straight as possible, for maximum impact. It's all very well acting like you're too cool to be seen making the effort, but if you're going for musical hugeness, a sense that it's a struggle to get there helps to set the scene.

There again, the chorus is the good bit, so maybe it's OK after all.

Four stars Download: Out now
CD Released: January 18th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)




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