The Long Blondes - Couples (4 stars)

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The Long Blondes - Couples

(Rough Trade)

INDIE

This Sheffield fivesome have always seemed rather clinical, their debut Someone to Drive You Home sounding a little too self-aware and over-thought at times. However, with this Erol Alkan-produced second effort they have got the musical recipe just right; a remarkable blend of disco, electronica and gritty discordant guitars, it manages to evoke His’n’Hers-era Pulp, Blondie, Joy Division, David Bowie’s Low and Grace Jones all at the same time.

Couples is dark, brooding and sultry – focusing on relationships past and present with clever compelling lyrics and snappy pop culture references – and although there are fewer of the outfit’s trademark instantaneously catchy tracks this time around, the record claws its way under your skin from first listen. Courageous and sublime.

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