What is that? Is it a play on the name of that mountain range in Switzerland? Is it literally something to do with the anatomy of Swiss people? Is it a new euphemism from those pesky teenagers that we’re no longer privy to? Are they linking that most sensuous, kissable part of every human being and linking with it that most neutral of European countries? No, one look in the urban dictionary and it turns out that it’s actually a referenced name for a ladies privates. We really did miss the joke there. It’s hard not to consider their choice of band name, particularly when it sounds so, well, downright silly, but now we’ve been educated it appears it deserves a little more respect than we initially dished out. We would love to state that we’re not actually going to discuss the name, ignoring it and instead choosing to suggest that its the music that counts, but Swiss Lips? Apparently so.
We’re going to have to move on rather quickly, as we’re actually here to positively recommend their excellent music, not their choice of title, so before we put you off let’s rush through the gushy adoration that we actually harbour for this band, then you can slap those play buttons below and agree with us that the music really is a winner, even if the name is a touch crude. Swiss Lips are a five-piece band from Manchester who blast out the kind of music that may as well come with “radio-friendly hit” printed on the cover. You can probably blame MGMT, Passion Pit and that whole Neon Gold-endorsed batch of energetic, indie-pop crossover bands that bounced around a couple of years ago for all this. It’s a style that’s massively successful when done just right, as the Radio One teen market are happy to gobble up candy-coated tunes like these as if they were penny-chews.
Just reference more recent purveyors of the genre, such as The Naked & Famous, who became New Zealand’s biggest export, or bands that are due for big 2012′s, such as (the better-named-) Polarsets or (the dumb-ass-named-) Walk The Moon and you have a library of songs that could fill the entire charts on their own. Although it seems that monikers tend to be hit and miss with this genre, the tunes are very much just hits. Take their track, U Got The Power, and it’s hard not to like the fizzing synths and rubbery melodies. Like another of the former synth-pop custodian’s, Yes Giantess, they remove all sense of maturity, engaging in cute lyrics such as, “When I see the light coming from your eyes, I feel so paralysed“, without any hint of irony, but if you think it’s too saccharine for your palette, then we suggest that it’s in fact your palette that’s gone too far. The lack of re-invention or originality almost suggests there’s some kind of pop charter or indie constitution that they all sign prior to recording anything, but you would be a fool to think there isn’t a market for exactly this kind of thing, so who can blame them for not re-designing it. In fact, there’s still a clever skill in writing nailed-on hits this friendly, no matter how identikit they seem.
This is music for people who have their happy switch permanently flicked on and this is further evidenced by their tune, Danz. It’s yet another upbeat radio hit in the waiting. It’s another example of music’s equivalent of a John Hughes film – almost beyond criticism in it’s bright, enthusiastic, young appeal. It has a beat they will dance to, marking this band out as a potentially lethal live act, with breaks and choruses precisely allocated in all the right places. Grow is perhaps their finest moment to date, as uplifting as any Georgio Moroder soundtrack, with a continuation of un-abashed 80s references, but as Bobby Malibu’s vocals echo themselves in the break, “sick of talk, sick of talking to yourself“, we unlock their most effective powers. Like all their tracks it’s got 10,000 volts shoved up it’s ass, as they admit it’s “Gotta be electric“.
As hard as it is to take music like this seriously, especially made with a band name like that, it would also be foolish to dismiss them. This is a young band with massive potential, writing excellent hits, for the mass-market. If your aim as a musician is to be successful and reach as many people as possible, then this band have a potent formula for precisely that. Ultimately, we can discuss their choices and analyse their craft, but it’s just irrelevant opinions at the end of the day. When this band are rising through the charts and having packed-out venues singing their choruses for them then they won’t give a monkeys about any negativity. There’s a small danger that this brand of synthetic pop may soon be out of teen fashions, and if the hipsters and taste-makers complete their current desire for a rock-revival, then they certainly won’t be replacing their Gross Magic singles with this any time soon, but with a decent, appropriate record label backing them their market can be located. It’s hard when your analysing music, but the real lesson here is in fact to not take things too seriously. Swiss Lips certainly don’t and that’s worth embracing, as they make music for those lucky people who don’t actually care. Try it. Let yourself go, we dare you. (MB)
SWISS LIPS – GROW
SWISS LIPS – DANZ