Hot on the heels of The Pipettes there is another girl group snapping at your heels armed (again) with a distinct retro flavour and more than a hint of novelty. The Puppini Sisters however take more distant steps into the past with their close harmonisations being reminiscent of 40’s groups like The Andrews Sisters (the group that served as their inspiration) and their ilk.
The Puppini Sisters have managed to generate something of a decent profile for themselves of late. They’ve been making appearances on 6Music with increasing regularity and their various sessions and live appearances did more than pique my interest.
There is no question they can sing, that 40’s style with all its peaks and swoops and drawn out notes would expose any weakness in their voices and as far as I can tell none exists. The arrangements and harmonisations are at times complex and impressive. The big problem with this collection is the material.
The fact that this is an album of cover versions would have always painted it as novelty but the fact that the bulk of the material on here is from the 30s and 40s marks out its major weakness. Tracks like “Sisters”, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Java Jive” and “Bei Mir Bist Du Schon” were made famous by groups like The Andrews Sisters and as a result you might as well listen to their original versions. While a younger audience might not find some of this material familiar for many these songs are engrained in the musical consciousness that is why when we hear them again its nice to hear something new added to them.
On the plus side when they do take on a modern track say for example “Panic” by The Smiths or “Heart Of Glass” by Blondie it does have a certain appeal. The beauty of hearing a good song, performed well in a different style is for me what albums like this are all about. However in this instance these moments are too few and far between. Unlike The Pipettes there is a slavish almost uncompromising adhesion to their chosen genre. It seems that this attention to detail could be what is responsible for their choice of songs and in essence be their downfall.
On paper this album had a lot of promise, the chance to catch familiar songs delivered in a fresh style. Alas in practice the truly entertaining offerings are sparse and the remaining selection bears such a close resemblance to the originals that you find yourself asking what’s the point?