Tender Trap front-lady Amelia Fletcher has been around the indie block a fair few times (no offense intended Amelia). Her group Talulah Gosh featured on a certain C86 cassette tape whilst her voice featured on singles from the likes of Wedding Present and Hefner. But that aside it’s Amelia’s achy breaky heart that narrates much of Tender Trap’s latest record.
The title makes no bones that we’re with the girls on this one. So we run enthusiastically with Fletcher’s made-for-pop tones as she sweetly delivers lines like “Could this be the last time I lay right here with you” on the excellent Could This Be The Last Time. Or as the lights go down and memories are all you have songs like Memorabilia deliver an unnervingly honest account. I feel your pain Fletcher.
All this is sound-tracked by a wall of feisty and bright-eyed guitars, and candy-sweetened harmonies. The finest example being MBV – Fletcher’s song about bitter love and good music. Within the 60s shaped verses to the infectiously flowing chorus, the backing vocals are like whispering friends giving advice that you know is right (but probably don’t want to hear).
We do get a break from matters of the heart; Step One is a playful instruction manual on how to get a girl-group together. Working off a simple bassline and tight-lipped rock-guitars it feels a little throwaway, almost like a comical scene to lighten the mood.
Yet however much nostalgia, regret and bitter taste we are party to the pop gauge remains on high. After-all Tender Trap don’t do self-indulgent melancholy – which is exactly why they’re so refreshing.