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!
It’s another Saturday morning, so time for another dose of jangle-pop. Last week it was Austin’s Literature. This week we go a few thousand miles to the upper right for the new single from Glasgow’s Strawberry Whiplash. It comes in the form of a 7-inch single for better aural absorption. The A-side Stop, Look and Listen is another slice of sugar coated jangle from the band, harvested from the same cane fields as early Primitives and Darling Buds records. The single serves as a preview of their upcoming album Hits In the Car and comes with two exclusive B-sides,the gentler In the Blink of an Eye and the chugging Luck Is The Residue Of Design, to further tempt you to part with your hard earned cash.
I need to take a break from this list making business. What better way to do that than with some mulled wine. Since you can’t download spirits, how about some holiday music? Matinée records down in Southtown (ie. Santa Barbara) have gotten into the festivities. After decorating their coastal live oaks, and hanging their wet suits out to dry they’ve put together a five song holiday ep containing original Christmas songs by the likes of Math and Physics Club, Northern Portrait, Champagne Riot, Bubblegum Lemonade and Strawberry Whiplash. New traditions are always a good thing, so why not try out these brand new holiday songs?
If the eggnog isn’t doing it for you and one mp3 isn’t enough to help you shed the holiday blues, then here are a few extra holiday songs of the cover variety to help you through. Math & Physics Club have offered up their version of Marshmallow World. Up here in Seattle, it hardly ever snows so we have to invent ways of making it a white Christmas by OD’ing on sugar.
Moving a little ways down the coast to Oxnard, Catwalk are busy getting ready for the holidays with their best Alvin and the Chipmunks impersonation. Wonder if there’s a way to play and mp3 at 45 rpm to really make it sound like the Chipmunks?
Lately I’ve been on this Primitives, Darling Buds, Rosehips kick. The last couple summer months if you’d have been over, you more than likely would have been subjected to the sweet sounds of fuzzy guitars that jangle a little and sweet vixen croons from the likes of Tracy Tracy, Andrea Lewis or Yoland. All of those bands were circa C-86, with the Primitives and Darling Buds going on a bit longer making records into the early 90’s, but largely that sound has been in hibernation since then. Sure the Manhattan Suicides and the Vivian Girls kinda sound like them, but neither was as polished or overtly poppy as their late 80’s predecessors.
Luckily someone has seen fit to put together a band that puts a femme fatal singing on top of the buzz and jangle of a Rickenbacker. That someone is Laz McLuskey of Bubblegum Lemonade and his side project Strawberry Whiplash. Their second EP has just been released by Santa Barbara indiepop purveyors Matinée Records. Laz is joined in Strawberry Whiplash by Sandra who plays the role of Femme Fatal to Laz’s Fred MacMurray. Don’t worry, there’s no film noir ending where someone dies and someone goes to prison. It all ends happily, albeit too soon on their new four song EP Picture Perfect.