The Pipettes
@ Leeds Cockpit

Shortsighted pop historians often like to remind us that, in between Elvis joining the Army and the Beatles, rock n’ roll was a barren wasteland. The Pipettes baulk at such nonsense because, in their polka-dot universe, Lennon and McCartney are dismissed in favour of teen tycoon Phil Spector and tragic maverick Joe Meek, whilst pouting lip service is duly paid to the classic girl groups of the early sixties. Like girls after my own heart!

It’s a shame so many remain oblivious to the Pipettes’ charms. The Cockpit is nearly full, but tonight’s gig has been shifted from the much larger Met. Not that it’s going to prevent Gwen, Rose and Becki from having a ball. After a cheesy cabaret-style introduction from backing band, the Cassettes, the Pips premiere a bevy of new songs, set to camp, bedroom-choreographed dance moves.

The danger with kitsch is that it can often come across as sardonic (remember Mike Flowers?) and amateurish. Thankfully, the Pips avoid such trappings and it’s to the Cassettes’ credit that they don’t muscle in on the girls’ show. Instead, they provide a tight-as-spandex backing allowing the buoyant trio to plant a mile-wide smile on everybody present.

The Pipettes’ butter-wouldn’t-melt exterior belies the saucy lyricism of ‘Dirty Mind’ and there’s a cheeky schoolgirl attitude about them, as if they wouldn’t think twice about sweet-talking you into handing over your dinner money for cigarettes. ‘Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me’ is a swift kick to the old cream crackers, but come set closer ‘Pull Shapes’, they’re begging you to the dancefloor and planting a big ol’ lovebite on your neck!

By plying their trade on the indie circuit, I fear the Pipettes will continue to be met with diminishing returns. Someone stick ‘em on tour with Girls Aloud, for goodness sake! The Pipettes are much too fun and vibrant to be left on the shelf.

Ross Halewood