Release Date: Jun 5, 2007
Record label: Rough Trade
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
If, as Morrissey held, talent borrows but genius steals, then Sheffield quintet the Long Blondes should be taking their Mensa tests any day now. Swathes of their debut album appear to have been swiped: Giddy Stratospheres apes the military disco of Franz Ferdinand's Auf Asche; current single Once and Never Again bears an unnerving resemblance to 1980s not-quites the Flatmates; a host of indie tropes crop up elsewhere. What saves the Blondes is a sublime ear for a melody, and singer Kate Jackson, blessed with a marvellously belting, if unsubtle voice.
Following in the shabbily glamorous footsteps of fellow Sheffield residents Pulp, the Long Blondes' debut album, Someone to Drive You Home, is a snappy pop album of quintessentially English vignettes about how growing up is hard to do. The quintet, which is fronted by femme fatale vocalist Kate Jackson, will make you fall in love with their girlish innocence, then steal your boyfriend and break your heart. The Long Blondes make it all seem dangerously romantic, but in a coquettish kind of way -- the joys of being a girl have never seemed so lovely or sexy, hence the impure thoughts of "Swallow Tattoo" -- "Give me a good film noir and a bottle of gin.
Like dandelions popping up on green and pleasant land, bands like this seem to emerge from the UK after any strong rain. If there weren't weeds, they wouldn't be nearly as likable. Here's the routine: some roughshod singles get noticed; slicker and stronger sides emerge; mix with filler for a striking debut. After that, things become less predictable.