Tender Trap

Dansette Dansette

Slumberland

Amelia Fletcher is as key a figure in Twee as Stuart Murdoch or Rose Melberg.  She’s had a series of bands like Talulah Gosh, Heavenly, Marine Research, and currently Tender Trap that all share similar sounds and sensibilities.  On the third LP from Tender Trap, Dansette Dansette, Amelia Fletcher and company bring another collection of infectious summery pop that is simultaneously cheerful and cheeky.  Like many of the Twee greats, below the gentle and precious veneer lays a sharp wit and fearless honesty.  On “Do You Want A Boyfriend,” Tender Trap question and answer, “Does he have to please you? Psychologically.  Does he have to tease you?  Gynecologically.”

Fletcher sings from the heart, frequently employing a playful and humorous brand of laid-back feminism.  She focuses her lyrical lens primarily on relationships and love. “Counting The Hours” stands out with whimsical nostalgia and reverb-rich atmosphere as Fletcher remembers the daily process of pining away after a meaningful love connection.  She recounts every step of romantic preoccupation so purely and effectively.  On “Fireworks,” Fletcher is once again lamenting unrequited love while deftly finessing a play on words with the chorus, “I should have know better than to play with fireworks.” Tender Trap is a modern update on Spector-era girl groups, neutralizing the helpless spirit of catering to the male that dominates the perspective of most of those oldies classics.  Like the character Bridget Jones, Fletcher’s got a lot of hearts and smarts but isn’t afraid to take the piss (in a delightful British accent of course).

Fletcher is an elder stateswoman in Indie Pop and Twee that has created a musical legacy that newer acts like The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, Architecture In Helsinki, and the All Girl Summer Fun Band are all taking cues from whether they know it or not.  The importance of her perspective can’t be underrated.  Starting in the mid-1980s, she was singing and sharing feelings very matter of fact and direct in a way that reflects how people might talk to their friends.  It was an uncommon style of expression that was unpretentious and simultaneously meaningful.  She cut through the crap and delivered it with her sweet vocal charm and infectious melodic pop.  Things haven’t changed much and that’s probably a good thing.  It’s why we listen to her.  The Tender Trap project is serving her well with more multi-vocal interplay from her other lady band mates and solid jangley indie-pop instrumentation.  Many Twee-heads may never see anything she does in as high regard as Talulah Gosh or Heavenly, but they won’t be disappointed either.

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