Beauties Never Die
lthough the name “Sissy Wish” may bring to mind images of those chat services advertised in the back of “specialist” magazines (“FORCED FEMINIZATION: $2.99 a minute, worms”), nobody’s choking on a dildo-shaped mouth-gag over the 40 minutes of Beauties Never Die. Instead, a Norwegian woman by the name of Siri Alberg sets about making a Northern European chart career out of the kind of pristine, otherworldly, vaguely fantastical indiepop that Bat for Lashes could produce if she/they/it weren’t some of the worst shit ever.
So, yes, she is Scandinavian, and, yes, she is getting a positive review on a music webzine. As a result, you can probably guess some of the boxes this ticks: female vocals that sound ten years younger than they actually are, cloying sweetness, and not a hint of darkness. Which is irrelevant really, because she comes out and kicks a tune like the title song here, which is seemingly designed to soundtrack the opening of those jewelry boxes with the spinning ballerinas in the middle, and contains the line “Today I won’t be bothered, I’m just playing my piano.” Sissy Wish is near-perfect as is, this isn’t gonna get better if you throw a body count or a couple of emo moments into it.
The best song here is “Yayaya,” which, although not one “Ya” better than Lee Dorsey’s 1961 nursery rhyme club heater, is fucking great enough anyway. It’s the kind of track that Feist would make if she actually tried, or maybe a more organic take on Robyn’s “Who’s That Girl”: floaty verses, faux-power ballad choruses. “DWTS” (“Do What They Say”: apparently the concept of obeying instructions is so scary in Quisling’s homeland that they have to reduce it to initials) runs along on far more new wave influences than you’d hear in any other song this year, and would perhaps make a decent cover for Devo 2.0 if they wanted to expand their catalogue.
As childlike as she sings, this is undoubtedly a more adult affair than most of your recent Scandipop crossover fare: 1990s aficionados may wish to recall bands like Stereolab and Ladytron as reference points here. And the end result is just... enjoyable. That’s what Beauties Never Die is at the end of the day: an enjoyable album that doesn’t make any demands of its listeners and provides hella rewards in return.
Anyway, now Robyn’s actually had a hit record, you can all pretend to have been into this since 2005 instead of now. I eagerly await various MP3 blogs claiming to have discovered her over the next six months at least. They may even claim that it sounds like “music made by robots.” I love it when they do that.
Reviewed by: Dom Passantino
Reviewed on: 2007-08-08