Yes I realise that five days in this is quite a claim. But believe me, this is good enough to steal it already. Let's hope this is a sign of things to come. It's The Frank Popp Ensemble
. Frank Popp is a lovely German man who constructs brilliant pop songs that are little homages to the 1960s and early 70s but also manage to sound slightly like they come the 25th Century. If there's any justice in the world, this album will be meteoric, but in a world where Shayne Ward
are successful, that's highly unlikely. 'Love Is On Our Side'
and 'Hips Teens Don't Wear Blue Jeans'
(the ones I knew) both had me swinging my hips and tapping my feet like a crazy mad thing. Hurrah! Popp is alive and well in 2006!Love Is On Our Side
The lead single (this time) and opening track sets the general tone. A trumpet-laden pop fest that would make even the most cold-hearted person dance like a robot from 1984. Well, actually they'd probably dance like they used to in the old days when the girls wore frilly polka dot skirts and the boys wore tight t-shirts and drove cadillacs. Dance like a teddy boy from 1954.Mullet King
Brilliant title, even brillianter track. Another hip-swinging judderer. The lyrics talk about a "cold hearted lover"
and it seems to be a song about ditching a dodgy boyfriend (with a mullet) which wouldn't strike me as being quite as merry as it appears here but really, she could be singing about anything and I'd dance just as hard.You've Been Gone Too Long
This song opens will what I'm sure is a sample. You'll know what I mean on first listen, but I can't put my finger on it. I'm sure it's not taken from the original version of this song by Ann Sexton
. Any help would be much appreciated. Lyrically this song is quite saddish, with singer Sam Leigh-Brown
singing of moving on after neglect from a lover, but once again, she doesn't seem tremendously bothered.Breakaway
This one is a bit darker and slower, with trumpets being replaced (only in parts) by violins. Here you can kind of understand Sam's anguish as the song does seem to want to be sad, but there is still a wonderful beat to dance along to in a slow click fingers shuffle. Or something. This whole mood should be everyone's new year's resolution: when you're happy - dance, when you're mad - dance, when you're in love - dance, when you're sad - dance a little slower but still dance.Psychedelic Girl
We meet a male vocalist for the first time here who stands carelessly above the strutting piano and guitars. This is about meeting a girl, hitting it off with her, smoking a bit together, driving across town with her then asking her for her name. This blatent disregard for manners is what we like when it comes to pop music. This is surely a soundtrack to the sixties hippy culture forty years too late. Frank Popp really is from another time.Touch & Go
Just when you felt a bit 'chilled' and 'relaxed' from the 'atmosphere' of 'Psychedelic Girl'
, 'Touch & Go'
comes over to you and makes you dance again, even if you don't want to. The melody is hidden underneath the drums and general motown-ness of it all, but is quite woderful when you find it. The lyrics really do make no sense at all here, not that it matters.Hip Teens Don't Wear Blue Jeans
The song that attracted me to these guys when it was posted on Into The Groove
. Once again, the soundtrack to a forgotten time, but this time with all the sentiment of Regina George
in Frank Popp's cliq-riddled fashionista society. And hey let's face it, when it sounds this good how can you not want to 'join their gang'
? Easily one of the highlights of a sensational album. Also, apparently this was also the theme to a Coke advert, but that passed me by.Hurry Up!
OK, this is crazy. Mainly instrumental spare a few bits with men talking. It has hand claps! Could hand claps be the horses of 2006? Tune in to find out! etc. Here, it almost seems as if the trumpets and kazoos (??) are the ones providing the vocals as their loops see them argue with one another. The title is strangely apt, as there is a sense of urgency of the whole thing with is .Goo Goo Muck"When the sun goes down and the moon goes up I turn into a teenage goo goo muck"
. It's like they've taken my life and turned it into a song. Even more ridiculous, highlarious and brilliant than 'Hips Teens'
. A song about going man hunting at night. "You'd better duck when I show up, the goo goo muck!"
. Just fabulous.The Thing Demands'Goo Goo Muck'
ends with the sounds of Scooby Doo
monsters, which cross over into 'The Thing Demands'
. Then the song trudges along like a zombie that does seem to want to take your brain, by hypnotising you. One of the worst tracks it must be said (although the competition it's up against is superb). I just don't think I 'get' 'it'.The Catwalk
Move over Girls Aloud
, this is now the song for the catwalk divas. Fantastically strutting and commanding with brilliant lyrics and a turned-up-nose attitude. If you don't dance to this song,it will punch you in the face. Listen out for the weird "your rabbit's dead, boo hoo, shame shame, quack quack"
bit, and the trumpet solo. This song knows it's better than you. Like a likeable 'Don't Cha'
that's not trying to break up your relationship, just telling you it could at the click of a beautifully manicured finger. And you know it.Enough
The final track, slighty more irratic and juddery than the previous eleven. As we all know, there can be no pop album with a female vocalist that doesn't have a 'girl power' song, and this is Frank Popp's ("She said 'enough is enough, I'm on the up and up'"
). Despite being one of the more 'inspiring' and hopefully songs it strangely sounds one of the most sombre.
This is the
pop album of 2006. Well it might not be in the long run but it is so far and it'll take a while for it to be beaten. Buy it and it'll make those dull January and February skies go away and it'll make you feel your most sunniest.
Ironically this is the most refreshing pop album I've heard in long time and yet 'Catwalk'
is from a 1999 EP of the same name and 'Hip Teens'
dates back to 2001 making this not exactly a debut, more of a definitive collection of his most essential most funkay (with an 'a') work so far.