CHEW Lips – Unicorn (Album Review)

3 02 2010

Band: Chew Lips

Album Title: Unicorn

Released: 25.01.2010

Tipped to trot to the top in 2010, the 3-piece, female-fronted electro-pop Londoners have just released their debut LP, Unicorn. More electro girls and glitter balls? I hear you cry. It’s true that 2009 brought us the delightful Little Boots, less likable La Roux and yet more from Bat For Lashes. But 2010 looks set to deliver more of the same, while indie guitar bands are sliding out of the charts, newcomer Ellie Goulding is being hyped for big things. A second wave of electric chicks will suit us just fine, thank you.

The album name alludes to a sense of fantasy, a theme that ‘Two Hands’ embraces, the bass gallops toward its chorus before taking flight with lyrics “two hands open, both minds hoping.” ‘Karen’ is another track that sees Tigs vocal scale and soar, making for addictive listening. Her voice is a swaggering sonic force, that cannot be contested, baring a resemblance to a more restrained Karen O, not seen more clearly than in the crisp ‘Seven’ and the anthemic ‘Golden Key’.

However, while there are reasons to listen, Bat For Lashes producer, David Kosten, has pulled CHEW Lips away from the power punches we know they can land live; he fails to capture the sweat-dripped and stomping potency of Tigs. Recorded, they are reduced to disparate clicks, whirrs and careful vocals. While some tracks climb to the ethers, others like ‘Slick’ and ‘Toro’ fail to take off, stripped of their soul.

What remains baffling is the exclusion of singles ‘Solo’ and ‘Salt Air’ that thrust them into semi-consciousness last year, remaining their material of choice throughout 2009’s series of outings. It’s a brave decision, admirable, but ultimately the album feels incomplete with their exclusion. There is certainly space for them; the album barely reaches the thirty-minute mark.

With that said, the trio have crafted a refreshing and distinct listen. In a chart fast cluttering with female electro poppers, CHEW Lips deserve their place.


CHEW Lips Myspace



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