The Long Blondes

Pub date May 27, 2008
WriterTodd Lavoie
SectionMusicSectionMusic Features

PREVIEW When the Long Blondes arrived in November 2006 in fits of preening twirls and smoldering pouts with the decadent disco/new wave revamps of Someone to Drive You Home (Rough Trade), we’d at last found worthy successors to Pulp’s lip-gloss-and-sweat–smeared velvet crown. Fronted by the risky, romantic Kate Jackson, the Sheffield, England, quintet proved to be just as adept at intertwining the tawdry with the chic as their hometown forerunners, delivering laser-precise details of the dating scene while making the blood rush with every dirty dalliance and morning-after sound. Amid the snappy glam guitars, ice-sparkling synths, and jitter-pop rhythms, Jackson peered into the dance floors and singles bars and narrated back with a furious mix of exhilaration, lasciviousness, and cool detachment. Love’s a dangerous game with the Long Blondes, but pity the poor fool who doesn’t join in the frantic romp. When they sang promises of "Giddy Stratospheres" on the disc’s unstoppable Blondie-esque highlight, who could deny themselves such steamy, limb-tingling rapture?

Having recently re-emerged with the darker, rougher-edged Couples (Rough Trade), the Long Blondes remain just as committed to the hot-‘n’-flustered/couldn’t-be-bothered dynamic as they were before, and the Pulp/Blondie parallels hold true as well. On this go-round, however, there’s more menace to their nightclub trawling. Tracks such as "Round The Hairpin" skulk and creep with post-punk hypnotics recalling the likes of the Au Pairs, while the skeletal throb of "Too Clever By Half" offers spooky minimalist-disco deserving of the Italians Do It Better label. But for all their newfound experimentalism, the group has kept its flair for penning liberating live-wire pop anthems firmly tucked in its front pockets. "Falling in love is hard," Jackson reveals on "The Couples." "Writing a love song is even harder." Perhaps, but the Long Blondes have the lust-song thing down.

THE LONG BLONDES With Social Studies. Mon/2, 8 p.m., $15. Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell, SF. (415) 885-0750,