Strawberry Whiplash hail from Glasgow, pay homage to Strawberry Switchblade and Meat Whiplash in their name, are Lawrence ‘Laz’ McClusky’s other band (Bubblegum Lemonade is the other) and have just released their first LP Hits In the Car via Santa Barbara’s Matinee Records. Strawberry Whiplash are probably many other things as well, but those are the facts.
Listening to Hits in the Car you quickly realize that they are most definitely many more things as well. For Strawberry Whiplash, McClusky still writes the songs, but hands over most of the vocal duties to Sandra (no surname given). She has a sweet pop voice that brings to mind Tracy Tracy of Primitives, Sara Cracknell of St. Etienne and the Shangri-Las. Sugar sweet, but a voice only gets you so far. Fortunately she has some great songs to sing. McClusky seems to have an endless stream of inspiration. Some are classic pop in the vein of the Primitives and Lovelife era Lush, some mine the same Astrud Gilberto vein of pop that Beaumont and Arabesque, did while a few of the songs sound almost shoegazer-ish and one even made me think of the Ramones (I think of the Ramones quite often even when not listening to music).
I liked the previous EP’s from Strawberry Whiplash, but they didn’t really allude to how good this record would be. Hits In the Car is a record that upholds the rich Glaswegian indiepop tradition started long ago by Orange Juice, the Pastels, Teenage Fanclub and the Vaselines. Probably 30 years from now, kids will be Tumbling Strawberry Whiplash songs to each other via surgical implants. Why wait for the nostalgia trip? Get in on the ground floor!