Thursday, 17 April 2014

7 Inch Single Collection: Strawberry Switchblade - Let Her Go

Outlandish fashion and pretty pop collide:


A-side: Let Her Go
B-Side: Beautiful End

(Korova 1985)

It's a bit of a shame that one of the first things that I think about when I consider Strawberry Switchblade is not their music but their appearance. That's not to say that their music was of secondary importance, because it's not - it's just that Strawberry Switchblade had such a strong, and engaging visual presence that it is hard to ignore. Especially if you were a teenage boy at the time they were plying their trade! The group was a duo of very attractive women who dressed in the most outlandish of clothes. It said we're pretty but quirky, which was and intriguing combination. It certainly worked to get them some attention, which they could then use as a springboard to unleash their music.

I almost feel like I have to apologise that this isn't Since Yesterday - I don't own the 7 inch of Since Yesterday, which was a fine a piece of pop from the mid-80's as you could wish to hear. I'm afraid that we're left with the follow-up single Let Her Go. It is a catchy enough piece of pop music. Synths tinkle and sparkle along with melody whilst Rose and Jill provide breathy girly vocals. the whole thing is light and airy and floats along quite pleasantly which is odd because lyrically it's a lot creepier than that. It's an urging for someone let their girlfriend go and be free, be free to come to the narrator. The underlying aggression is tonally at odds with music, which adds a depth of interest that would otherwise be missing. It has to be said that Let Her Go shares much in common with Since Yesterday, and so it could be an indicator of a dearth of ideas, or a savvy way of cashing in on their previous hit. Either way that similarity does some harm as it fractional diminishes the charm of this song.

Beautiful End on the other side is much softer and has swaying, almost woozy characteristics of a lullaby. It is gentle and soporific, but hang on is that another lyrical dissonance I hear before me. Yes I think so - it is as you might guess from the title - Beautiful End - about death, or at least that's how interpret it. Not a violent or bad death, but a comfortable and peaceful death. Painful to none but the loved ones left behind. So if it a lullaby it is one for the ultimate endless sleep. The melody is appropriately haunting, and whilst it may be less catchy than the a-side, it is probably the better of the two songs.

Strawberry Switchblade - a band whose outlandish appearance and stylised pop sounds belies a much darker and more thoughtful than you would expect.

Next time another obscure band with a great name from the early 90's

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