Tuesday, 10 March 2009
Clash Magazine's Ones To Watch: Chew Lips
“A couple of micro-Korgs, a couple of really old-school Casios – the kind people used to collect up tokens for – a bass guitar, a laptop and a drum machine…” Tigs could feasibly be listing the instrumental line-up of every band to emerge this side of 2007. With an eighties electro-pop revival in full swing, Chew Lips might look like more of the same trendy synth-obsessed casio-kids, but they would like to beg differently. “We’re an electro-pop act in the form of a rock band, and we want to make classic pop music – music that’s sounds so dated it doesn’t date.”
Chew Lips formed a little less than a year ago from the ashes of various rock and indie bands. “We didn’t know what we wanted to do, but we did know what we didn’t want to do. We knew we didn’t want to be another guitar band in this post-Bloc Party world… so we got instruments we weren’t really used to.” Will and James then worked on perfecting the kind of wonky bleeps and blips that would be just as much at home on an Eddie and Sunshine demo from 1981 as they would on a Metronomy or Hot Chip record from last year. Meanwhile the striking, diminutive figure of Tigs transforms minimal, lo-fi electronica into compact pop songs with the help of her distinctive, soulful vocals. That voice might already be familiar to those of you paying attention – Tigs once guested on the skiffle-blues of The Brute Chorus’ ‘The Cuckoo And The Stolen Heart’.
These days, however, her heart belongs to pop – “if early eighties Prince is pop music, and Scritti Politti is pop music,” she clarifies. Tigs tells me how, by their fifth gig and before they “had one single fan”, they were being approached by those-in-the-know. It was a similar story with French-fashion collective Kitsuné, who put out their first single, ‘Solo’, on 23rd March: “[label founder] Gildas Loaëc e-mailed to ask us what our plan was, and we just replied that our plan was to put out a single on Kitsune, and then he came to London to see us and he was wearing a double denim combo. And we liked the cut of his jeans.”
Having toured with Howling Bells and amassed some sixty to seventy songs, Chew Lips are eager to get into a studio and set to on an album – one that we’re surely going to be hearing a lot of in the coming months. In the meantime though, forget comparisons to the overproduced female pop acts of the hour – Chew Lips are lo-fi DIY electro-pop at its finest.
Unique Fact: Vocalist Tigs’ favourite singer is Karen Carpenter.
Download these tracks: Solo, Twin Galaxies, Salt Air