Swiss Lips. Don’t you just love any product that sells itself by way of vagina-related euphemism? Anyway, moving swiftly on…
SO. Swiss Lips are from Manchester but really, really, really want to be from Brooklyn – they even have videos featuring ‘80s-style dance battles – the really are as cool as Friends, honest, even though they are just a group of weedy boys from Manchester. But then, The Beatles were just weedy boys from Liverpool and it worked out all right for them, so I suppose you can’t really hold their unglamorous origins against them, no matter how many Instagram photos of themselves/dogs/cats/deer they plaster all over their Facebook page.
It’s not just because of their hopelessly faux-retro hipsterness that Swiss Lips have a Brooklyn-esque feel – it’s their music too. Swiss Lips’ brand of excitable electro-pop feels like the younger, skippier cousin of Holy Ghost! but it is lacking the cool finesse of many successful Brooklyn-based electro-acts, embodied by the irrefutable chic of Class Actress and the like. In contrast, Swiss Lips are more like an overly enthusiastic puppy that will greet you by jumping up and salivating all over your crotch.
To give them their due, Swiss Lips do a great job of repackaging and entire decade – the 1980s – in handy three and half minute bursts that will appeal to teens in oversized glasses from NYC to Bolton. They cleverly integrate imitations of familiar faves to create a kind of collage of all the tapes you might find in the glove box of your Dad’s car. ‘Fireheart’ opens with rhythm guitar à la Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’. And the layered, echoing, call and response vocals of ‘Grow’ are weirdly evocative of Queen’s extravagant campness.
‘U Got the Power’, which unfortunately is nowhere near as exciting as the Snap! 1990 classic they seem to be referencing, is an all-out homage to retro electro, including some seriously vague lyrics: “We come around to push, push electric, new kids already connected” – no, context won’t help you understand this one. (Look guys, you are neither Will Ferrell nor Jay-Z and it is not “provocative”, it is just baffling). Elsewhere, their lyrics border on teenage coyness: “when I see the light coming from your eyes, I feel so paralysed”, “There’s a fire in my heart for you, and when I feel it all night I don’t know what to do”. #Girlproblems.
That said, there is no way you will be able to forget the single ‘Danz’ once you have heard it. This brand of pop might be riddled with cliché, but what genre of pop music isn’t? And yes, perhaps there are others who do it better, but make no mistake: these weedy northern boys will have you dancing. No doubt about it.