vaselines

There’s something vaguely unsettling about the ageing of twee. Or, more precisely: twee’s staunch refusal to age. Since reforming in 2008, Glaswegian duo the Vaselines have picked up exactly where they left off in the late-80s as if stuck in some surreal not-quite never-never land where naivety and immanence are clung to ever more tenuously. Not that Kurt Cobain’s favourite songwriters have lost it by any stretch: ‘V for Vaselines’ bounds along with sprightly boy-girl harmonies and lyrics awash with inane-yet-charming couplets, even if things have gotten a bit more power-pop than strictly necessary.

It’s just that these songs of innocence feel constantly haunted by the experience they anxiously repress, the record’s erasure of dissonance resulting in a simplicity not only tragic and artificial but also a tad bland. That said, glimmers of hidden depths do surface if only fleetingly: “it went wrong too many times / missed cues, forgotten punch-lines” goes the wistful closer. See, if twee agreed to age, things might get a lot more interesting.

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