Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Take Me to an Owl Sanctuary: Hemme Fatale

I first heard about Welsh band Hemme Fatale via Fluxblog's brief post about them, and I immediately went to their MySpace page to check them out. Their rather clever name aside, Luke, Ellie and Jen produce some very fun and witty electro-pop. Their track Animal Lover, which includes the line "I know a girl who says/she wants to take me to an owl sanctuary/the second biggest in the country," made me think immediately of Alan Partridge and his Valentines Day trip to the owl sanctuary, and I'm big enough to admit that this fact swayed me as much as, if not more than, the music itself.

Fluxblog described them as influenced by The Human League, which I can hear, but they've got a looser style and an unhinged quality that comes with making music for kicks. For example, Animal Lover begins with a massive disco intro before going into grimier beats that have been popularized lately with groups like Justice. Baby Witch begins with a distorted retro 60's sound before settling into electropop featuring a duet of male and female voices that play off each other - there is a time about one minute into the song when the female half slips into that vocal riff from Islands in the Stream, but which bears most resemblance to the Pras and Mya's updated version in Ghetto Superstar. And Hag in a Black Leather Jacket shimmies to a Latin beat before moving into 80's synthpop and then back again. What truly stands out about Hemme Fatale is their sense of fun and humour, which reminds me of Robots in Disguise in places, and since there are times when I weary of bands taking themselves too seriously, Hemme Fatale provide the perfect antidote.

Their debut Silent Sleepover EP includes the following tracklisting as elaborated on by the group themselves:

"1. Peryglus Lucifer - a song about the darkest party this side of Austria.
2. Animal Lover - a song about the dirtiest girl this side of Merthyr.
3. Baby Witch - a song about the devil in your womb.
4. Hag in a Black Leather Jacket - a song about the despised."

My favourites are, of course, Animal Lover and Peryglus Lucifer, a song which features vocals from Aled Phillips from Kids in Glass Houses and grooves along to a funky beat and snatches of 80's girl group sounds. Also for your information, "peryglus" is Welsh for "dangerous," which indeed Lucifer is to most people. Unless maybe you're Aleister Crowley. I look forward to hearing how Hemme Fatale develop, and hopefully, there will soon be a full album release.

Hemme Fatale's MySpace: www.myspace.com/hemmefatale

Animal Lover - Hemme Fatale

Hag in a Black Leather Jacket - Hemme Fatale