Late September, 2006. A sweaty Leadmill in Sheffield. An enraptured crowd are treated to just under an hour of joyous girl-group pop, performed replete with neatly executed dance routines and heart-warming harmonies. At one point, Rosay, as she was then known, looked over at me and held my eyeline for a few, brief seconds. I felt slightly giddy, flushed with that sense of euphoria that music can sometimes bring. By this stage in the gig, I had briefly come round to thinking that the band singing before me were the saviours of modern pop and could only envisage the world quickly realising this and their long term chart success being completely assured.
As history records, ‘We Are The Pipettes’ was little more than a footnote in that year’s musical history and the notable silence and departure of two thirds of the group in the intervening time would suggest that that situation is unlikely to change any time soon. Having said all of that, it’s a marvellous pop album and gloriously fun from start to finish. For all the associations with throwaway, cheesy pop, there are numerous masterful tunes on this record, including the epic ‘A Winter’s Sky’ and the splendidly upbeat ‘Pull Shapes’ which lightly stroked the top forty at one point.
To deny that the vintage girl-groups of the 1960s were the basis for the sound of The Pipettes would be churlish, but to write them off as simply copyists would be similarly stupid. There’s a shambling indie sensibility running through the heart of this record and on a few occasions it does sound like the songs might disintegrate if you gave them a little shove. I rather like that held-together-by-will-power-alone feel and ‘We Are The Pipettes’ remains one of the albums I reach for when I need a dependable burst of aural sunshine.