Excuse the Tender Trap overload, but they're pretty much all I've listened to over the last two or three weeks...
There was a brief moment at this year's Indietracks, when I was sat watching Tender Trap, that everything seemed okay with the world, that the songs on this album being played on a small stage in the middle of a field in Derbyshire, were somehow going to save the world. Six weeks on, nothing's happened to really change my mind about that, just because these songs are now sat in front of me on a silver disc.
'Ten Songs About Girls' is a mighty, mighty album. It sees Tender Trap in their most confident form ever. It's all fistfuls of drums, sugar-coated guitar hooks, the most perfect of backing vocals, and - in at least one case - a masterpiece of angst and/or mourning.
Whether it's just coincidence or something more, the addition of Emily Bennett from the ace Betty and the Werewolves seems to have elevated Tender Trap onto a new level with this album.
It opens with the rollicking 'Train From Kings Cross Station', which namechecks Preston (I think), and is perhaps the best ever song to do so. It's like The Cure's 'Jumping Someone Else's Train' sung by the Shangri-Las. Next up is 'MBV' (strange as this record was produced by Brian O'Shaughnessy), easily the most radio-friendly (is that still a phrase?) song on the album, and surely a shoe-in for the next single?
The middle of 'Ten Songs for Girls' is taken up my three remarkable songs. Firstly. 'Step One', a hilarious guide to forming a girl band and becoming famous; secondly, the almost-grunge-y griefpop of 'Memoribilia' (my favourite track on the album), and third the tender (ho!) 'Mayday'. This triumvirate show the depth of Tender Trap nowadays, and they're all pop classics in their own perfectly-formed ways.
I didn't really see this coming from Tender Trap. Always a band to adore, with 'Ten Songs About Girls' they've become a band to be in awe of. A bona fide pop masterpiece.