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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new direction...
Having heard the pre-release of this album a few times, I'm pretty hooked on it. Stylistically, it is very different from "Someone To Drive You Home", so it is bound to split the opinion of old fans, whilst winning over some new ones (like me).

Where the first album was indie (with very slight punk leanings in places), this is more electro-indie. The guitars...
Published on 18 Mar 2008 by Mr. T. S. Guy

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CREAMY JALFREZI
Very disappointing second album. Take your favorite chiken jalfrezi, stir in an insipid creamy cheese sauce then shrink pack it in a polystyrene tray for supermarket shelves. Even Kate Jacksons sexiness sounds forced now. I really hope the new songs sound better live this summer.
Published on 14 Jun 2008 by David Smith


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A new direction..., 18 Mar 2008
By 
Mr. T. S. Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
Having heard the pre-release of this album a few times, I'm pretty hooked on it. Stylistically, it is very different from "Someone To Drive You Home", so it is bound to split the opinion of old fans, whilst winning over some new ones (like me).

Where the first album was indie (with very slight punk leanings in places), this is more electro-indie. The guitars are still there, but they're accompanied by a lot of synths, and it's quite a radical change of direction.

There's plenty to dance to (lead single "Century", or the spectacularly silly "Here Comes The Serious Bit"), some more straightforward indie-tinged tracks that will appeal to early fans ("Guilt", "I'm Going To Hell", "The Couples"), and a couple of really different songs like the dark-sounding "Round The Hairpin" or the almost falsetto vocals of "Too Clever by Far".

All in all, I really enjoy this album, it's very catchy and diverse enough to make an interesting listen. Personal highlights are "Guilt" and "Too Clever By Far", and I'd say that the vocalist has improved since the first disc. Some old fans won't like it, but if addressed with an open mind they may surprise themselves.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Too Clever for Review, 8 April 2008
By 
M. K. Edgar "Garage Flower" (Sheffield) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
So many newspaper reviews have thus far failed to catch the essence of this record which is somewhat understandable given the variation in tracks and the evolution from the Someone To Drive You Home LP.

Whereas the ferocity and tempo of the debut album had built on the earlier released singles of Lust In Movies and Once and Never Again, here is the sound of a band exhaling in the most seductive of manners.

The references to Pulp, Elastica and (no intention to offend) Sleeper bubble to the surface now whereas previously these were far more overt. Here the sounds range in style to include a Sheffield CSS, somehow Kasabianesque intros and Franz Ferdinand style Wogan references. If anything the diversity of songs now mark out The Long Blondes as a group to be taken on their own merits, for their own body of work, rather than as some collective 'new yorkshire' 'second wave of britpop' etc.

Century is a superb opener if a little bit of a bodyswerve as a signpost for the remainder of the record. The sort of noise that possibly only All Seeing I or Moloko could have thrust into a British pop atmosphere and exptect to work successfully into a hit in waiting.

Other standouts inlude Too Clever By Half which deserves its own film built around it to be generally released throughout art galleries everythwere - Nostalgia which sounds like The Good The Bad & The Queen teaming up with Graham Coxon with lyrics by a Jarvis Cocker trapped in 1992 - Here Comes The Serious Bit, a second cousin to Art Bruts Direct Hit but with more of a head down rush to the crescendo.

Much as they were a good band with a good record and excellent singles prior to "Couples", The Long Blondes are now in real danger of becoming a great band with an excellent record and splendid singles. Its as if difficult second albums never existed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars CREAMY JALFREZI, 14 Jun 2008
By 
David Smith (Madrid) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
Very disappointing second album. Take your favorite chiken jalfrezi, stir in an insipid creamy cheese sauce then shrink pack it in a polystyrene tray for supermarket shelves. Even Kate Jacksons sexiness sounds forced now. I really hope the new songs sound better live this summer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant album if you have the patience to persevere, 29 Sep 2008
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
I thought their first album Someone To Drive You Home was brilliant. I would go as far as saying it was the best album of 2006 by some distance.

It's inevitable that the next album would be a big disappointment so I steeled myself for the come down. And it did turn out to be pretty weak. Tepid thrills in comparison to what had gone before.

The thing that disappointed me the most was that the lyrics had been simplified. Before, the songs told detailed kitchen sink stories with a warped glamour. Now the lyrics are just simple semi-abstract phrases that kind of just about suggest a story without actually giving us a story (compare the song "The Couples" to anything on the debut to see what I mean about simplification).

Also the music was a lot colder and less melodic. Which is okay, but the pace of the songs had slackened a little bit.

It was an okay listen and it wasn't half as bad as I expected it to be. A notch or two down from the first album, but not the massive drop off it could have been.

I didn't give up on the album. I enjoyed it for what it was and kept listening to it, and I suspected that it might be a grower. And I was right. It isn't anywhere near as immediate as Someone To Drive You Home but it has a lot of substance and the music has subtleties that are difficult to appreciate after just a few listens.

I have grown to love this album over a period of about three months. I prefer Someone To Drive You Home but this album just keeps getting better and more enjoyable with every listen. The album I would compare it to the most is Animals by Pink Floyd - it doesn't have the ambient warmth of the bands previous work and the lyrics seem weaker than usual, but it keeps giving out and getting better the more you play it.

I completely recommend this album, but be aware that it isn't a particularly immediate listen, so it needs to be heard quite a few times for it to really work.

One last word of advice, this is a band that needs to be heard but not seen. When I hear them they sound great and their music covers old ground from an interestingly different and fresh perspective. I made the mistake of seeing some of their music videos. When you can see the band they come off as a very derivative Pulp influenced band. On CD Pulp never spring to mind.

A great band and a very strong album.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Couples, 15 May 2008
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
Teamed with DJ Erol Alkan, The Long Blondes are back with their troublesome second album, `Couples'.

In difficult, second album style, the Blondes have chosen to begin by changing their sound with some self-indulgent electro. Sure it still has the Kate Bush influences, but they're the bad, bland parts. The instrumental sounds like the demo on a cheap Casio keyboard. The problem is, it's meant to sound like that which just makes it even more grating. It's called `Century' which is fitting, as the song is so boring it seems like it lasts that long. To make matters worse, it is their first single. Where has the punk gone? Where has the half-decent taste in music gone? Erol Alkan, you've got a lot to answer for.

"Guilt" (has nothing to do with it) is the title of track two and probably had something to do with chucking that crap Casio keyboard out and reverting back to a slightly more familiar sound. Familiar for a Girls Aloud single that is.

Predictably, the production is far sharper than the debut album. I think most people would rather listen to the grit of `Lust in the Movies' any day though. Even the most anthemic of songs are polished up like a bimbo's nails. How Kate Jackson manages to make a chant sound glam I just don't know (`Here Comes the Serious Bit'). She could sing Ave Maria and still somehow make it sound sexy.

As well as a DJ producer it seems like they've nicked Pulp's keyboardist in certain aspects. Well they certainly ain't having Jarvis. "Round the Hairpin" could be a B-side on a Pulp single, except it is more soft porn than Hardcore.

It comes across as though this band are trying to emulate their idols, rather than doing what they're good at- being themselves. "Erin O'Connor" is another indie disco number which will no doubt be a single but it is everything that Blondie has already done before (A nice grimey guitar though). Then there's "Too Clever By Half", an understated falsetto number that should have been left to a hidden track, and "Nostalgia" is only worth listening to because it uses the word `breakfast'- an under-used meal in love songs.

However we do end this disappointing album with a lovely lyric "I'm going to hell so I may as well make it worth my while". But come to think of it, "Lovely" shouldn't really be an adjective for a song about going to hell though should it? It sounds more like a little girl cheekily admitting she's been throwing out the fruit her mummy puts in her lunchbox and eating penny chews instead. It's hardly hell-raising and the 50s rock `n' roll style piano doesn't exactly help the situation.

The Long Blondes tried to do something a little different with "Couples" but got cautious after only the first track. They've accessorised their sound rather than having a complete makeover. Minus the dire opening, any Long Blondes fan should probably at least download this album, but the rest of us would do better to steer clear.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear,, 19 Mar 2012
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
Oh dear, this is a classic case of a 'difficult second album', three or four good songs at most, I mean good when comparing it to the sound of their first album, which I really enjoyed. They seem to have gone backwards somewhat, almost losing their individual sound on many of the tracks, it is worth buying at the now bargain price you can get it for on Amazon but only expect to transfer a few of the tracks to your library.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Music, 9 Aug 2014
By 
Mr. J. Cooper "big ears" (maidstone kent uk) - See all my reviews
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Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
Very happy with the item arrived in good time and in perfect condition thank you
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 12 April 2008
By 
IWFIcon - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: COUPLES (Audio CD)
Someone To Drive You Home was my album of 2006, quite comfortably as it turned out. From start to finish it was a modern masterpiece. Notwithstanding the lack of an actual hit, it was an album packed full of singles, yet held together as it's own entity. And I'd think that even if Kate Jackson wasn't sex-on-legs.

Three tracks in, the follow up Couples seems to be heading for a similarly winning run. Century proves that adding synths to the mix (replacing the jangly guitars that were their trademark) was a good idea. Jackson has rarely sounded better and the insistent tune is soon lodged in your brain.

Guilt could have drowned in it's Disco beat, but lyrically it's classic Long Blondes and is one of those songs that gets better with every listen. The Couples is perhaps the song on the album that most could have fitted in on STDYH and as well as having a killer tune once again brings the biting wit of the Blondes to the fore.

So far so good then? Sadly it's pretty much a downhill ride from here, or at least you've got as good as your going to get in the first three tracks.

I Liked The Boys and Here Comes The Serious Bit basically forget to pack a tune in alongside the other ingredients, and Nostalgia may well achieve it's probable aim of reminding you of the early 80's but that doesn't stop it being a terrible song. Things reach a possible nadir with Too Clever By Half. I still can't make my mind up if it's so bad it's good, or whether it's just plain awful. I'm half tempted to think it's someone's bad idea of a joke.

At least Round The Hairpin and Erin O'Connor mean that the last two thirds of the album isn't a complete wash out but, especially after the blinding opening, it's all too much of a disappointment.

There are signs that they still have more to offer, and at the least they should be commended for resisting the temptation to record another STDYH and waiting for the money to roll in. Still that doesn't change the fact that, for this listener at least, Couples is very much a let-down.
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COUPLES
COUPLES by The Long Blondes (Audio CD - 2008)
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