Thursday, 30 August 2012
A coming of age:Ten Songs About Girls by Tender Trap
When it comes to writing about an album by such a personal legend and all round Indie hero Amelia Fletcher, it seems churlish to right the words ‘coming of age’. But this is exactly what the LP is. It’s the album Katrina, Amelia, Emily, John, and Rob having been threatening to make for years. It’s everything you want a Tender Trap album to be and so, so much more.
Remember when albums sat on your turntable for weeks and no matter how many times you played them they still sounded fresh and thrilling? This is one of those records. I thought it would be good, but bloody hell.
Opening with the thudding of a train hammering the tracks (sign of a classic that) the album oozes confidence and charm and, most importantly, instantly classic pop songs. Brian O’Shaugnessy’s production is as crisp as it is crunchy, giving the album an air of confidence that the tracks justify again and again.
The bold, bassy and breezy opener Train from King’s Cross Station does the impossible and makes skipping past the Pret-a-Manager and hopping on to the Inter City through Preston seem implausibly romantic, if romantically doomed. ‘The Train from King’s Cross Station/is coming into town/and there’s nothing I can do to make it turn around’ sings Amelia, and makes you think of lost love and how scary the end of the line can be.
The Edwyn Collins name checking MBV has a racing melody that tries to but never quite catches up with itself, while Could this be the last time? Is quite possibly the best ever song about love going wrong to dance to.
Lead single Step One though sounding uncannily like Step by Step by New Kids on the Block (my sister liked them m’lud) is a manifesto cum call to arms about forming a rock and roll band that’s as fun as it is fantastic. With a step by step (duh) guide to getting a group together, it should do for creating pop bands what Meat is Murder did for vegetarianism. Listen and learn kids, listen and learn.
The lyrics ‘There’s a party invitation stained with coffee and wine/the night your drunken eyes and lips first encountered mine’ kick off the gorgeously reflective sigh of a song that is Memorabilia but the shining stars of the album of the LP (to these ears anyway) are the frankly fucking brilliant Leaving Christmas day a song that finally, finally realises the potential shown on Dansette, Dansette. As wonderful as that LP was, this is whole new level. A song as equally at home at Indietracks as Top of the Pop’s, it’s quite possibly my favourite on the album. Just.
Challenging it though is the Beatles-y Love is hard enough. It’s Norwegian Wood-esque verse giving way to a melodic hook that could make Sir. Macca’s so envious his wig could catch fire. Seriously, I’ve had daydreams about bashing on a tambourine and belting out the end refrain with hundreds of people. But maybe that’s just me…
Ten Songs about Girls is an LP of no-messing-about classic pop songs. A mature, crush inducing, confident, and wonderfully executed LP that demands to played over and over again. An instant classic.