Review : Chew Lips - Unicorn
BbcLast year both Little Boots and La Roux carved their mugs into the musical rockery, and as we write, 2010 is predicted to belong to Ellie Goulding. So you could be forgiven for feeling a little shoulder shruggy about British born lady-led electro-pop. Haven’t we heard quite enough for now?
Chew Lips say no. And it’s impossible to argue with a debut like Unicorn. Stripped of all the superficial polish and glitzy sheen that so often equips haters with all the ammunition they need to call this genre throwaway, the band have crafted a truly unique, low-key and yet utterly captivating sound. The ten tracks are based around varying combinations of fluttering synths, big basslines, pianos, guitars, beats and strings; all intricately arranged to showcase the real standout element of this record – lead singer Tigs’ sumptuous vocals.
It’s a corker of a voice; the type that makes you want to skip with joy when it soars and then drags the heart over hot coals in its more melancholy renderings. As such Gold Key, with its sweetly sung talk of tied hands and playing with guns, takes on an even more sinister quality, Karen’s incredibly catchy melody has huge impact driven by Tigs’ very capable lung power, and stark ballads Piano Song and Too Much Talking are downright catch-your-breath sad....full text
MusicomhIn recent years the 'buzz' single - a song released by a hot new band, usually on a small boutique label, usually on a limited release - has become more and more important. La Roux released Quicksand through Kitsuné, whilst this year's big tip, Ellie Goulding, released her last single through Neon Gold. Both acts immediately signed with major labels.
London trio Chew Lips are either incredibly brave or remarkably foolhardy for leaving off their two (brilliant) buzz singles, Solo and Salt Air, from their debut album. The former rightly led to blanket coverage and tips for big things by blogs aplenty.
Produced by Bat For Lashes collaborator David Kosten, Unicorn doesn't stray too far from the template set up on those two singles; the beats pop and fizz, strange synth sounds rise and fall and singer Tigs keeps the whole thing together with her surprisingly soulful croon (surprising given the fact that so much recent electronic music seems to replace soul with a detached cool).
There's also an eerie feel to the album. Opener Eight has a strange recurring synth riff which slowly envelops the song before morphing into a big squelching bassline. The haunting Too Much Talking begins with what sounds like the recurring riff that opens Yeah Yeah Yeah's Cheated Hearts, but transferred onto a keyboard. Album closer Piano Song features, unsurprisingly, a lot of piano, but the calm is peppered by a deep bass drone that plays in the background, underpinning the fragile vocal....full text
GuardianThough they need to rethink that terrible name, up-and-coming Londoners Chew Lips are a likeable bunch – their aim is to make "music that sounds so dated it doesn't date", and on their debut they've fulfilled the brief. Unicorn is 32 minutes of the bippety-boppety electro sounds that defined 2009, making it feel both contemporary(ish) and retro, with the fleshy vocals of one-name singer Tigs comprising the selling point. She's a commanding frontwoman, imparting gravitas to wilfully obscure lyrics ("It's your high-speed chase on your wedding day, give and take are all the same") and warmth to a canvas of frosty clicks and bleeps. Perversely for a synth-pop trio, Chew Lips also have a bit of a thing for guitars, but they're at their best when they stick to their electronic template. The most striking track here is Toro, whose pulsing bass-and-keyboard heart drags you straight in....full text
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