Categorized | Album Reviews

Tender Trap – Ten Songs About Girls

Posted on 19 August 2012 by Dorian

Amelia Fletcher is probably best known for being the singer in Talulah Gosh, but best known to me for singing on two of the best singles of that last 30 years, The Wedding Present’s ‘Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm‘ and Hefner’s ‘Good Fruit‘. Tender Trap are her fifth band and Ten Songs About Girls is their forth album, released on the excellent Fortuna POP! label.

Tender Trap

I’ve seen the band live a few times, including at the Fortuna POP! 15th Birthday celebrations, and always enjoyed them, but I have never really listened to the band on record. Ten Songs About Girls may or may not be their best album, but it is certainly a very enjoyable starting point.

The opening track, ‘Train From King’s Cross Station’, is a like a cut-up of classic indie-pop. The Wedding Present and The Fall blend in with Fletcher’s characteristically artless vocals and the sweet backing voices of her band-mates.  (I mean artless in a totally  positive way, definition 2(b) in this online dictionary.)

‘MBV’ continues in a similar vein, and what could be more self-consciously indie than a song about My Bloody Valentine? If it was a simple matter of this just being a classic old-school indie pop album that certainly wouldn’t be enough, I have a load of those already. What lifts it up is the quality of the songs here and the quality of the performance by Fletcher and her band. In particular the backing vocals and harmonies are really quite lovely, especially on ‘Leaving Christmas Day’.

On occasion the songs skirt very close to the edge of trying too hard to be cute, ‘Step One’ just about gets away with it despite sounding a bit too much like The Pipettes for comfort but the vocal charm forces them through. The band are much better when then they sound properly lovelorn, like on the superbly fuzzy ‘May Day’. There is a nice variety in sound across the album as well, that song being followed by the indie-skiffle of ‘Ode’ is an effective change of pace.

The album has a satisfyingly tight structure, ten tracks in just over 30 minutes means that it leaves you wanting more, or just to start the album again from track one.

This isn’t an album that will convert an indie-sceptic, it is about as indie-pop as any record you will hear this year. However, if, like me, you love jangly guitars, sweet melodies and three minute pop songs then this album comes highly recommended.

8/10

By Dorian Rogers

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