The Puppini Sisters Biography

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Nostalgia is turning into a competitive art in this summer's charts. Already this month, Nouvelle Vague have vamped up 1980s new wave and the Pipettes have paid polka-dotted tribute to the girl groups of the early 1960s.

Saccharine swingalong: The Puppini Sisters

Now the Puppini Sisters are trumping both acts by going even further back in musical history to the close-harmony swing of the 1940s, dressing up like cigarette-card girls and doing an Andrews Sisters impersonation.

The trio began when Marcella Puppini - who had worked for designer Vivienne Westwood and starred on the lesbian pole-dancing scene - saw the animated French film Belleville Rendez-vous, which featured a 1940s close-harmony group.

The burlesquey brunette was smitten by the idea that fun, clever, danceable music could be made by just three voices. And at a time when allotments, making-do and mending, and being domestic goddesses are coming back into fashion, she felt the mood was right to for a 1940s musical revivial.

So Puppini hooked up with two friends from Trinity college of Music, blonde Kate Mullins and redheaded Stephanie O'Brien.

The fact that they seemed to have been chosen for their range of looks and locks becomes apparent when you hear them sing. Its not that they can't. They're perfectly proficient. And I'm certain they put on a fabulous show in the gloved and rouged flesh. But without the visuals, they're all vocally vying to be crowned Queen Cutesy-Pie.

They open with the Andrews Sisters' signature song, Sisters, and its only when you hear the Puppinis' saccharine versions of these old swingalongs that you appreciate how much spunk the original wartime sweethearts slung into it.

The Andrews gals sang as if they had their sleeves rolled up and were broadcasting from the assembly line at a munitions factory. The Puppinis sound as if they'd wail if they chipped a nail.

The covers of modern songs, such as the Smiths' Panic and three close-harmony Cathys on Kate Bush's Wuthering Heights, will appeal to art-school ironists. But both songs quickly bugged the boogie-woogie out of me. Blondie's Heart of Glass fares better, partly because Debbie Harry always sang it high and kitsch.

Fans of the 1940s should treat Betcha Bottom Dollar with mucho mistrust and spend their cash on catching this act live. Helen Brown

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-------- 08/30/2014
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