With this album - and the last one for that matter - she's earned her place high up the list that is Great Lost Pop Albums. And that is something I suppose.
Sissy Wish – Tuning In
Not so long ago I was talking to a chum who promotes Sissy Wish, (a supremely talented Norwegian chanteuse, in case you are asking). I asked how things were going and mentioned the fact that her LP You May Breathe was one of my favourite pop releases of last year. Indeed, we gave that particular LP a rave review. I was shocked and saddened to learn that everyone else he'd sent it to had all hated it and good old Incendiary were the only ones to bother reviewing it at all.
Well, sod that, I liked it. It was a cracker.
What's more I like the new one I got to review, Tuning In too. And what's more I'm going to review it, right here, right now.
As quality pop records go, Tuning In starts at a canter. The opener, About a Machine is a classic Sissy Wish track choc-full of hooks and melodies and in thrall to a polished Nashville-esque sound with a just a hint of kookiness to make it that bit different. Following up on this rather captivating opening, Scoundrel Days delivers a beautiful hook laden refrain that is bloody brilliant.
As with her last album, there is definitely something rather surreal about her songs; it's as if these tracks are private conversations that we have no real right to listen to. Or she's just plain barking... You're the Priscilla is possibly the highlight of the set, a lazy hook not too dissimilar to a late eighties MBV riff lurches around for some time before giving way to a fabulous circular refrain that reminds me most forcibly of a Cocteau Twins melody. This is a truly wonderful pop song.
The rest of Tuning In doesn't have the same infectious quality of You May Breathe; it feels more wary in outlook for one thing, but it is still a charming disc and ever so slightly bonkers. With that in mind, some of the other moments to listen out for are Sleep back Tomorrow, a whimsical boy-meets-girl style number with a very affecting chorus (it could, given a metaphorical lick of sonic paint, be a Lieber-Stoller number), and The Roses Won't Smell any Better, a bona fide weepy if ever I've heard one, and a real show tune. And don't miss Reveal, which mixes up all kinds of sonic ingredients (lets just say there is a smoochy, ska-lite beginning that suddenly gets bored of slumming it, bursting out into a stomping '60s chanteuse chorus; replete with the tum-tumpety tum drum style so beloved of those soul-baring 1960s discs. Oh, and then it changes into a maudlin love song boasting a new wave synth sound. She's nothing if not inventive, this girl.
Great tunes are only one part of the jigsaw though. It's a shame, but I just get the feeling that this LP, like its predecessor is just not the sound that's going around. And consequently it's going to get ignored. Still, with this album - and the last one for that matter - she's earned her place high up the list that is Great Lost Pop Albums. And that is something I suppose.
Words: Richard Foster.