Music » Livewire

The Pipettes

Tuesday, November 20, at the Beachland Tavern.

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The lovely ladies known as the Pipettes — Rosay, Gwenno, and RiotBecki — dress in classic polka dots, looking like sassy librarians heading to high tea. In keeping with the retro theme, the trio's backing band — an all-guy troupe called the Cassettes — often sports old-school fraternity sweaters, coming off like extras on Happy Days. Live, the English gals perfectly mimic the cascading harmonies of classic girl groups, employ rudimentary choreography (handclaps and hula dancing are faves), and trill chiding kiss-offs to unworthy suitors. In less talented hands, the Pipettes' cutesy shtick would be cloying. But they back up the novelty with catchy pop that splits the difference between the Shangri-Las and Sleater-Kinney — from the bouncy, finger-wagging gem "Your Kisses Are Wasted on Me" to the Spector-inspired "Sex." We Are the Pipettes, the group's debut CD, was recently released in the United States. Those looking for messages of feminist empowerment will find plenty to explore, even though the album celebrates fun and romance more than anything else.

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