RetroGirls — Do I smell a new trend?

So for the past few weeks, I’ve been enjoying a slight guilty pleasure — The Pipettes. If you don’t know them, you should. They’re completely a “manufactured” band (which can be awful, cf. Spice Girls, or surprisingly good, cf. The Monkees), cast from the same mold as the Ronettes or the Shangri-Las. In other words, there’s a producer, who plugs people (in this case, cute girls) into slots, with an overall sound guiding the vision.


They’ve got all the hallmarks of the classic girl groups: matching outfits, namechecking themselves in a song (“We Are the Pipettes”), calling off the dances they enjoy (“Pull Shapes”), with a faceless backing band — the Cassette. It’s a great formula that worked 40 years ago, and it seems like it can work again, as long as the songs are good. And, in general, they are. There’s nothing mindblowing about their US release, but as an entity somewhat stronger than a mere novelty, it works today. Chris thinks they’re more Go-Gos than Chiffons, with maybe a bit of Angels thrown in.

And now there’s the Puppini Sisters (I apologize — their website takes about a month to load). Two British singers and an Italian, instrumentalists all, with pretty amazing close-harmony skills. They’re clearly chasing that Andrews Sisters sound, and as jarring as a ’40s-style cover of Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love” sounds, it works pretty well. Hooray for good arranging! But does it have legs? (Gwenno from the Pipettes certainly does. Rowr.)

Puppini Sisters

So what’s next for RetroGirls? We’ve seen the torch singer revamped, the new version of the folkie, and country has been recycling the Parton meme for decades. Are we due for a Neo-Flapper movement? Holy Gatsby, Batman!

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