I got this today and I love it. It's fun, it's frothy, it's innocent, and it knows it - but doesn't hammer that irony into your skull like a tent pole. Perfect, in spirit at least.
The Pipettes definitely aren't there yet, as anyone who's seen them live will testify - their singing voices aren't particularly distinctive or strong, and their backing band is too small and quiet. This album reflects some of those weaknesses but the studio is definitely the place for them at the moment, as their voices can be turned from three to nine and made shouty rather than whiny. However, the recordings on this album are close enough to sounding live that the Pipettes don't feel like they came out of a flatpack.
I think the reviewer who said this was "pure retrogression" is slightly missing the point; the Pipettes are certainly a nostalgic band, but there are key elements of their sound and image which defintely mean they're updating, not merely reviving, the girl group genre. Take the drums on "Your Kisses Are Wasted On Me", a stomping and dancey indie-inflected anthem, or the fact a song is titled "Sex" - that's not a brazenly pornographic submission to boys, it's a celebration of something fun, rather like this album as a whole.
You won't get anything deep here. That's not to say it isn't slightly clever in places, but its main qualities are spirit and joy in these nice little songs. There's something to be said for a band who will end an album track before two minutes rather than pad it out with repeated choruses and solos. This is a guilt-free listen and a departure from both numbing, bland and maufactured pop and weighty, overwrought and joyless rock (recent releases by Christina Aguilera and Thom Yorke come to mind). "We Are The Pipettes" is, even if you don't love it to bits, a welcome breath of fresh air, not least because it could be the basis from which this lively and promising band can grow.