Rough Trade RTRADSCD351 / RTRADS351 / RTRADSX351: 26th June 2006
1. Weekend Without Makeup
“There are wants and there are needs, and they’re two very different things”
2. Fulwood Babylon
“Girls fantasise, on school trips to galleries, of men who don’t meet, their parents expectations, who want to introduce them, to illicit Russ Meyer films, and dance ’til dawn, to old Kinks records”
“She lived at home and she worked in retail, she knew the devil was in the detail”
4. Last Night On Northgate Street
“He wasn’t much of a catch but I’ve wanted him since I was fourteen, he was glamour for a young girl with his side-burns and teared up jeans”
The NME have been moaning about the fact that The Long Blondes haven’t been given a major deal for ages. I’ve collected all of The Long Blondes singles and I’m a fan, but they’ve never been one of my favourite bands. Just because painfully awful groups like White Rose Movement, The Kooks or any of the current crop of soon to be dropped Emo bands get signed, doesn’t mean you deserve to be. So The Long Blondes seem to have realised that pointing out how unfair it is, isn’t gong to change a thing. Instead they’ve dug deep and come up with their finest work to date. Not just an A-side, but three B-sides that lay waste to their competition.
‘Weekend Without Makeup’ has the kind of magic that makes you glad that Pop isn’t a dirty word anymore, it’s something that great bands strive for. I love the cheeky way Kate Jackson sings the line “I could be more than your land lady, if you like” with an almost audible wink of the eye. I guarantee you’ll be singing along to the chorus, “They’re two very different things”. Especially when it explodes back in at 2.50 after the instrumental break. The song is about a woman expecting a little R-E-S-P-E-C-T from her partner. I can imagine the scene, he comes through the door (Maybe stifling a yawn, maybe eyes bleary from too many Beers), only to find Kate and her band plugged in and ready to launch into the opening riff, and teach him a lesson he’ll never forget.
‘Fulwood Babylon’ is about Kate being sick of men pretending to be something they’re not, just to please her. So the chorus goes, “People think I’m being perverse on purpose”. On ‘Platitudes’ Kate’s velvety voice is contrasted with static interference and ear piercing noise, set against a Calypso rhythm. ‘Last Night On Northgate Street’ records the aftermath of a disastrous attempt to seduce another girl’s boyfriend. There’s an amazing bit where the Bass comes in and the line “I fooled myself into thinking, we we’re meant to be” repeats and repeats. It’s like a saucy seaside postcard or a Robin Askwith film.
If I ranked the artists I loved like football tables then The Long Blondes have just shot up from the minor leagues to the Premiership. It’s only a shame this wasn’t a four track EP, because the impact of this creative winning streak is diluted when spread over three formats.