The Long Blondes

    {grate 1.5} You know, they’re not actually blonde.

    Everyone in the Long Blondes is a brunette — and the hoax
    doesn’t end there. The UK
    group’s sophomore effort, Couples, suffers from serious identity theft: with
    exhausted synth beats, average vocals and lifeless lyrics, it’s as if someone
    stole the Blondes’ usual pop-punk power and replaced it with a sad excuse for
    new-wave air.

    At first glance, the oddly named band might seem like an
    eventual British indie sensation a la Keane or the Kaiser Chiefs. Lead singer
    Kate Jackson has a hipster glam, Karen O-esque style and keening vocals that
    compliment traditional grrl-rock beats on “The Serious Bit.” The finale “I’m
    Going to Hell” is the best of the bunch, reprising the anthemy rock sound and
    tongue-in-cheek humor of their first hit single, “Weekend Without Makeup.”

    Unfortunately, the Blondes fail to ride the momentum of
    their successful debut, fizzling out with boring, repetitive rhythms and
    insipid, lukewarm lyrics. The comatose “Century” is a song for the graveyard,
    deadened by unnecessary synth (note: if you watch its creepy/artsy music video,
    the weirdness makes the song far more bearable).

    whispery, forgettable vocals on “Round the Hairpin” and “Nostalgia” are only
    made worse by Dorian Cox’s sleepy, wannabe-atmospheric keyboards. And on “I
    Liked the Boys,” you’ll find possibly the most mundane lyrics ever: “When I was
    young, I liked the boys/ When I was young, you were my boy,” punctuated by a
    chorus of irritating “oohs” and “aahs.” It’s enough to make the hardiest
    indie-snob put on some mainstream tunes.

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