Uni And Her Ukelele (3 stars)

Fence Club 2 @ The Caves, Edinburgh, Thu 14 Jun


The ukelele’s place in contemporary pop is usually second, um, fiddle to more conventional, less novelty-inclined instrumentation. Where George Formby and Tiny Tim’s eccentric schtick was strictly Kodachrome, however, Uni and Her Ukelele, AKA Heather Marie Ellison, is a day-glo riot of candy-coloured tutu, kids TV presenter tights and sparkly silver eye make-up.

The San Francisco belle may be at the bottom of the bill of this latest and increasingly homogenised Fence Records love-in, but, with her uke Sally Luka in tow, she’s by far the most interesting thing on it. Because, behind the rosy-cheeked apparel, chorus girl ditziness and wonky dance moves is a handbag full of classic 1960s girl pop that could have shimmied out of The Brill Building, loaded up on bubblegum and busked its way into your heart with would-be Wall of Sound power-pop show-tunes pared back to one-gal-band basics.

Somehow, miraculously, Uni manages to apply such sugar-sweet sensibilities to The Smiths’ heartbreaker, ‘Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want’. Swoonsome as it was, where, oh where, were the roller-skates?

(Neil Cooper)

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