Tuesday, November 17th, 2009
An introduction to Theoretical Girl
Pavla KopecnaAll throughout Theoretical Girl’s set at SxSW back in March, I was wracking my brain trying to figure out who Amy Turnnidge, she who is the central abstract idea of the band, reminded me of. This didn’t keep me from enjoying her set, but it was a relief and head slap when I finally put it together a week or two later – the name I’d been trying to dig out of my memory banks was Sarah Blackwood. Not the icy electro-pop queen she now is with Client, but the wistful synth-n-jangle ingenue she was in Dubstar. Though not dead ringers – Blackwood’s voice is higher, to say nothing of the differences in production values – they’re close, and the archness of their accents and clarity of their diction, struck me as uncanny. Also helping the parallels are that they both sing songs infused with spirited defiance and resignation, usually simultaneously, and with melody to spare.
But this is not a post about Blackwood (that was largely covered a couple years ago), but Turnnidge and Theoretical Girl. And, by extension, her debut record Divided, which came out back in August. Topically, it stays quite focused on topics of romance and regret, often interchangeably and rendered with unblinking candor, and as noted earlier, they’re themes Turnnidge is quite well-suited to articulating. Musically, Divided is rangier and deftly incorporates pop stylings of the chamber-, electro- and twee- varieties, favourably recalling the likes of Pet Shop Boys, Saint Etienne and Field Mice. The gentler, more nuanced pure pop numbers feel more effortless and natural than the rockers, but by no means can Turnnidge’s compositions not handle a little grit and volume.
But just as I left her SxSW showcase satisfied but not overwhelmed, Divided is an eminently listenable record that lacks that ineffable “something” that would firmly embed it in one’s psyche. It might be just a little too polite, too measured. Where it should be utterly heartbreaking, it only manages to elicit a mild heartache, easily remedied with a few fingers of scotch and a good night’s sleep. Next time out, and be assured I believe the next effort will be closer to the mark, I demand total emotional devastation.
This Is Fake DIY got a track-by-track breakdown of the record from Turnnidge around the time of the album’s release and The Daily Growl solicited a list of seven songs. Artrocker offers up the chord changes to “Biggest Mistake” for those inclined to sing and play along.
NME reports that Florence & The Machine will be taking the deluxe edition double-dipping trend to an absurd degree with the release of a 3-CD/1-DVD edition of Lungs on November 30. In addition to the album, it’ll have a disc of live material, one of remixes, rarities and outtakes and the DVD will contain a live show and all her videos. More Florence than any rational person could reasonably want or need? Almost certainly. The Globe & Mail has a fashion spread and interview with Florence Welch about developing and maintaining her style.
Hot Chip are set to return with their fourth album One Life Stand on February 9 and have already scheduled a short North American tour to promote – they’re going to be at the Kool Haus on April 20 with The xx, who still have a prior appearance scheduled for December 2 at the Phoenix. Tickets are $23.50 in advance and go on sale November 23. What do you mean you don’t like committing to plans five months in advance? Why on earth not?
Much-feted UK outfit Wild Beasts have scheduled a Winter North American jaunt with Still Life Still in support of their new record Two Dancers and will be at the Horseshoe on February 22, tickets $15 in advance. There’s a full show from this Summer available to watch up at Domino Records and Clash has a short feature.
The full dates for The Cribs’ North American tour hinted at last week have been revealed and the January 15 Toronto date at The Phoenix now sits a few dates in to a fairly extensive schedule and yes, all indications are that Johnny Marr is going to be on the tour. Billboard talks to Marr and the band have also just released a new video.
Frightened Rabbit’s sublimely-titled new record The Winter Of Mixed Drinks has been given a release date of March 1.
British Sea Power have blogged an update as to the status of album number five.