Cou­ples Rough Trade

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - SINÉAD GLEE­SON

Two years on from a de­but that could have brack­eted them as art-rock up­starts, The Long Blondes have grown up. While they haven’t ditched the ser­rated gui­tars or punk-goth ten­den­cies, they have elon­gated their mu­si­cal spec­trum. Most likely, this is the do­ing of pro­ducer/remixer Erol Alkan, who seems to step in to pre­vent too much plun­der­ing of the past for in­spi­ra­tion. Kate Jack­son gives her voice an ex­panded work­out, prov­ing she can step out­side the sub-Siouxsie bari­tone and tackle husky high notes. On Too Clever by Half, you won­der if they’ve been lis­ten­ing to Gold­frapp, with its sepia-tinted pop and hazy disco. Nos­tal­gia, a pi­ano-and-Ham­mon­dled ode about “mov­ing to the fu­ture”, is a slow de­tour, but the bulk of Cou­ples is fran­tic retro an­thems that, while divert­ing, don’t quite reach the giddy strato­spheres of their de­but.­e­long­blon­ Down­load tracks: I Liked the Boys, Too Clever by Half

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