As a founder member of Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research and Tender Trap, not to mention occasional vocalist and contributor with the likes of The Wedding Present, Hefner and The Pooh Sticks, Amelia Fletcher succinctly qualifies as the female figurehead of all things twee. Whatever one's own take on such gems as 'Lemonhead Boy', 'Testcard Girl', 'Hopefulness To Hopelessness' and so on and so forth, there's no disputing her considerable influence over a scene that many thought would dissipate by the close of summer 1986. Instead, thanks to clubnights like How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, festivals such as Indietracks and a multitude of post-millennial artists ranging from Vivian Girls to Ballboy to Los Campesinos!, the spirit of Ms Fletcher's youth is very much alive and kicking, something which her third full-length outing with Tender Trap, Dansette, Dansette celebrates with nostalgic vigour.
With a four-year gap since previous long player 6 Billion People, the current expanded five-piece line-up - founder members Fletcher and long-term partner Rob Pursey plus former Dweeb bassist John Stanley having been joined by Allo Darlin's Elizabeth Darling and drummer Katrina Dixon - recreates the shambolic punk stylings of Talulah Gosh in many ways, except with the added bonus of experience to fall back on. What this means is that while the luscious punk-pop of 'Do You Want A Boyfriend?' and 'Girls With Guns' could quite easily have found themselves on Rock Legends: Volume 69 some 21 years ago, Fletcher's almost tongue-in-cheek refrains on the former ("Does he have to like the Jesus and Mary Chain?") blend quite well with the latter's clarion call of "Are you willing to come clean, now we're ready to get mean?", like a mother being introduced to her daughter's first boyfriend.
Sandie Shaw and Lesley Gore find themselves namechecked among others on the album's title track, while 'Counting The Hours' occupies a similar plaintive middle ground to that of The Primitives 'Thru The Flowers', or even Best Coast's 21st century update on such matters. Its the Spector-esque lilt of 'Danger Overboard' and closing gambit 'Capital L' that resonate the most, not least by way of evidently displaying that maturely focused pop needn't necessarily be as mundane as magnolia wallpaper or Ford Mondeos.
Now with two young children of her own, making music is understandably way down the list of Amelia Fletcher's priorities. However, Dansette Dansette, along with last year's long awaited and hugely successful return to live performing at the aforementioned Indietracks suggests that even though almost 25 years have passed since her first recordings were committed to vinyl, her relevance in the present day should not be be underestimated.
7Dom Gourlay's Score