The Sisters' second album refines their retro-pop stylings to gereat effect!
Lou Thomas 2007
Comedy and music go together like gravel and milkshake. A dire charity single made to help starving kids (but obviously not to boost egomaniac celebrity profiles)? Any single to include Keith Allen? Whatever: laughs and tunes don’t mix. This is not to say music isn’t often unintentionally funny – like Meat Loaf – or equipped with a sense of humour, like The Streets or The Smiths. But unless you’re Spinal Tap or Jack Black in School Of Rock, save the jokes for stand-up.
When The Puppini Sisters appeared with their take on 1940s close-harmony vocal groups, some dismissed their schtick as a novelty. After all, the female trio and their backing band formed after chief Pup’ Marcella Puppini watched ace, beguiling, but distinctly comic French animation, Belleville Rendez-vous.
Second album in and there is still a gimmicky feel to what The Puppini Sisters do. But then, the same is true of Nouvelle Vague’s soporific cover versions of previously life-affirming songs but that hasn’t dulled their popularity among the Facebook and Foccacia set.
The Puppinis (not really sisters) do three types of songs: covers of ancient ditties ("Old Cape Cod" will be familiar to anyone to have heard Groove Armada’s "At The River"), covers of newer pop hits ("Walk Like An Egyptian", "Crazy In Love") and their own (the sultry "Soho Nights"). On record all sound silky and sexy like a night in a smoke-filled Parisian jazz club.
Here’s a listening experience that is a good laugh, but not in a way that makes you want to glass the musicians. A double bass turns rubbery, the girls croon a song that you’ve heard a million times but never with as much charm and you may just stop moping and dance.
So there is never an excuse to cover Barry Manilow ("Could It Be Magic?" Nope!) and as a live proposition these ladies far exceed their recordings, but these two negatives don’t bury …Ruby Woo.
Instead, this is party music for listeners who don’t want anything as predictable as a banging beat or a sample from an old disco tune. For that and for offering something different, give these siblings a spin.