Tender Trap are now a proper girl-group! Neither Talulah Gosh nor Heavenly (Amelia Fletcher's previous bands) had this much vocal harmony going on. With two extra voices from new guitarist Elizabeth Morris (also of Allo Darlin’) and new drummer Katrina Dixon, this great new single combines the harmonies, oohs, ahhs and sha-la-las of classic girl-pop with the stripped-down beats and dirty guitars of the Shop Assistants and The Vaselines.
In contrast with earlier Tender Trap, which had a more electronic bent, the current line-up has stronger links to the pop lineage of its founding members; Fletcher and Rob Pursey were in influential indie-pop originals and John Peel favorites Talulah Gosh and Heavenly, who released records on Sarah Records, K Records and Stephen Pastel's 53rd and 3rd. Revered by today's revitalized indie-pop scene, their records are floor-fillers at indie dance clubs and their influence can be heard in bands such as Los Campesinos! (who namecheck Fletcher in their song "International Tweexcore Underground") and The Pains of Being Pure at Heart.
"Do You Want a Boyfriend?," taken from the Tender Trap's upcoming album Dansette Dansette, is a perfect chunk of pop, but it's not as innocent as it seems - it celebrates the girl-pop phenomenon, but deconstructs it, too. Fletcher sings in response to Dixon and Darling's increasingly intimate questions about boyfriends, and her answers stray well outside the standard girl-group territory. The punk-rocking flip side "The Sum and the Difference" is the closest Tender Trap have come to Talulah Gosh; while guitars and drums rush by in a blur, Fletcher and Morris harmonize sweetly, contemplating whether to kiss or kill another unreliable partner.
Fans in the USA and Canada should purchase this record from Slumberland Records.
"Although Tender Trap's current line up isn't exclusively female, the addition of Elizabeth (Allo Darlin') Morris and Katrina Dixon has strengthened their harmony-strewn girl group sound. Dixon's drumming on the new single 'Do You Want A Boyfriend' (Fortuna Pop 7" white vinyl) even reminds me of the Vivian Girls at one point. The song is catchy and sassy, the three girls exchanging questions and answers ("does he have to like the Jesus and Mary Chain?"), although some of those questions are a little impudent: "does he have to tease you - gynaecologically?" This is smart and addictive indiepop while the furious pop of B-side 'The Sum and the Difference' is an echo of the Tallulah Gosh past."
Tender Trap have a very long - and very specific - list of criteria for any new prospective boyfriends. For one thing, he absolutely must like The Jesus & Mary Chain. And for another, they must meet him 'in the rain' for full, swoony effect. And who can blame them - who, really in this world of ours - especially when there appear to be men in existence who deem it appropriate to use the words ‘yeah’, ‘I’, 'it' and ‘porked’ in the same, fubared sentence. Bearing in mind the dolt what said this was supposedly of an age where, by rights, he should have at least been knee deep in his Age of Reason [where is mine, etc], you can't really blame TTT for creating the Ultimate List Song Of Twee, Romantic Requirements. I think the chap they are after is essentially one Mr. Bob Stanley, and I think the point they are making in their darling little pop song is that they are not about to Settle. This is admirable, and as I happen to have heard that Not Settling is one of the keys to Long Lasting Marriage And Staying In Love Forever on the radio this week, let us congratulate them. And let none of us settle, settling is for scaredy cats and The Practicals (who must be avoided at all costs).
(Drowned In Sound)
The a cappella and tambourine combo makes this track a keeper. The tongue-in-cheeky Tender Trap offer lyrically amusing indie much like The Long Blondes did in the mid-noughties. Do you want a boyfriend? Sure, if he’s not too vain…
"I will have to be honest and say Tender Trap haven’t grabbed me in the same way as other projects Amelia Fletcher has been involved in the past two decades but that’s all forgotten on the new single Do You Want a Boyfriend? It’s as innocent and carefree as when Talulah Gosh were recording for 53rd & 3rd as the hilarious video shows. Flip side The Sum and The Difference carries on it pretty much the same way and you would expect it to be on Backwash such is it’s vintage lo-fi feel. Gouge yourself silly on this super slice of a vinyl pie!"
"Does he have to please you? /Psychologically!/ Does he have to tease you?/Gynecologically!" Hiding a cheekily feminist message in a fuzzy, 60s girl group-indebted number, this is a simultaneously witty and hummable slice of retro pop, like Kirsty MacColl somehow guesting on a Dum Dum Girls track. The only fly in the hand jive ointment is head girl Amelia Fletcher's perpetually wayward vocals. She sounds like she's been at the gin, frankly. But even that is kind of charming, in a strange way.