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The Long Blondes

Couples (Rough Trade)

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Sometime between 2006's Someone to Drive You Home and Couples, the Long Blondes glammed up their image. Not that the British quintet ever put substance before style, but frontwoman Kate Jackson and her band of early-'80s-pop fans pile on the new-romantic moves and post-disco grooves on their second album. Occasionally, Jackson recalls another artist who revels in artifice, and bridged disco, new wave, and attitude back in the day — Madonna. In "Guilt," Jackson even strikes a similar pose, leaving some poor guy standing on the dance floor after coming on to him all night. "Here comes the serious bit," Jackson sings at one point. But don't believe her. The fun-lovin' Long Blondes are about as serious as that boy-toy icon who once had the gall to reclaim her virginity.

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