Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Femmepop - 'From A Girl Who Never Sleeps'

Femmepop, '1983'

Info: Femmepop, real name Maggie O'Sullivan, is a native of Cork who has been residing in London for the past few years where she released her self-made debut E.P., The Kick, in 2008, which featured Belle & Sebastian's Chris Geddes on the title track. After releasing a series of singles throughout 2013 including '1983' (above), 'Timescapes' and 'Our Time' (both with Dutch retro-twiddler Timecop 1983), Femmepop released her debut album, From A Girl Who Never Sleeps just 2 weeks ago on the 17th of September. Her music has been widely compared to The Cocteau Twins with some comparisons to Sonic Youth & The Breeders. Personally I think it's a lot closer to Cyndi Lauper's first two albums and former Go-Go's guitarist, the wonderful Jane Wiedlin. O'Sullivan has also received high praise from high places including RTÉ Radio's main man Dan Hegarty, Hotpress, BBC Radio's Richard Usher and Phantom FM's Edel Coffey, and did I mention she had a No.2 hit in Japan?

So to the album itself, From A Girl Who Never Sleeps, while I may have differences regarding what the sound is comparable to with other reviewers of Femmepop's music, one thing I can agree on is that it's all kinds of wonderful. If you like 80's music, like myself, the album can be summarised in three words, eighties music porn. The album gets off to a strong start with '1983', a song that wouldn't have been out of place on the Drive soundtrack somewhere between Kavinsky & Lovefoxxx and College. By the time I'd finished listening to 'Timescapes' and was half-way through the third track, the perfect 'Neon Nights' I was right back to sitting in front of my tellybox as a nipper when cartoons competed with music videos, welcome, you've just entered the Eightrix. 'Yellow Lines' pulls you back briefly from the 80's vibe, and hints at a possible subconscious Tori Amos influence before normal business is resumed on 'Astrogate', the drum intro is reminiscent of the Pet Shop Boys, and as the song title suggests, we've just boarded a celestial flight.

Femmepop & Timecop1983, 'Our Time'

Showing that there's more than one string to her bow, Femmepop goes for a more guitar-based approach and drops the synths on 'Don't Fear' and 'Beautiful Boy', both of which give us a chance to appreciate her vocal range in a different light. That said, on 'Our Time' a voice sternly warns us to remember why we're here, and it's easy to see why this track was chosen as a single, while '1983' is my favourite on the album, 'Our Time' encapsulates Femmepop's sound. If you were at a party and heard this song you'd struggle to comprehend that it was only released in the last 12-18 months, unlike a lot of other 80's inspired music that is around at the moment, and that Commodores funky guitar is a delight. 

One observation I would make is that there seems to be the making of two incomplete dual album's here, both of which could happily stand on their own, a synth-based 80's one and a more modern singer-songwriter album, or even a double album. I'm not sure how the two sit together as a whole. Ultimately, I enjoyed both styles immensely, and I wish there were more aspiring Irish musicians doing what Femmepop is doing, there's not much more to say other than, I really, really enjoyed this album.

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