Pipas - Chunnel Autumnal

matcd036  /  January 2005
Pipas - Chunnel Autumnal
cd   $10.00

digital   $8.00

Pipas - Chunnel Autumnal

matcd036  /  January 2005

Long awaited reissue of the magnificent Pipas debut 'Chunnel Autumnal' released in 2001 on English indie Long Lost Cousin. At the time, Mark Powell and Lupe Nuñez-Fernandez were just another unknown South London duo writing songs to record on their laptops and now, nearly four years on, they have moved to East London but are still the same unassuming duo writing songs to record on their laptops. Somewhere along the way, however, Pipas became an international sensation, selling thousands of records, topping countless year-end lists, and charming live audiences in England, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Italy, Denmark, Australia, USA and Greece. Some say that Pipas is nothing but an excuse to see the world and meet people and they may be right. Their bittersweet, melodic indiepop with drum'n'bass, bossa nova and electronic influences has a continental naiveté about it - an inconceivable mix of sophistication and simplicity. Their records are heralded as modern and cool while earning glowing reviews and favorable comparisons to pop legends St. Etienne, Stereolab, Dubstar, Birdie, Strawberry Switchblade and Pizzicato Five. Limited to just 300 copies in its initial release on 10" vinyl, the original 'Chunnel Autumnal' has achieved a legendary status with many fans only hearing the songs live or on tape. This brilliant reissue combines the eight songs from the original release with three bonus tracks from the debut Matinée 45, 'A Short Film About Sleeping,' collecting all Pipas songs previously unavailable on CD into one suave digipak. An essential release for indiepop fans, 'Chunnel Autumnal' is a vital review of the innovative debut of one of today's most popular bands.

  1. Tout Va Bien
  2. Don't Tell Me That
  3. Wells Street
  4. Moss Oval
  5. Amsterdam
  6. Bye Bye
  7. The Bobby
  8. St. Pancras
  9. A Short Film About Sleeping
  10. Troublesome
  11. Fingerprints


London-based indie pop duo Pipas's Chunnel Autumnal was first issued on tiny UK label Long Lost Cousin in 2001, Matinée reissued it in 2005 with the addition of three bonus tracks. The album is skeletal but charming, Mark Powell and Lupe Nuñez-Fernandez use many of the requisite indie pop ingredients (cheap synths and drum machines, intimate and sometimes awkward lyrics, plangent guitar lines boosted from New Order records and more melancholy than you could fit in a badge-covered backpack) but use them with a style and grace most bands their stature can't conjure up. The eight songs that make up the original release are a non-stop weepfest wrapped in delicate and memorable melodies; Moss Oval, which sounds like an easy-going Field Mice, the desolate and heart-smashed ballad The Bobby and the rollicking Tout Va Bien stand out but all the songs are first rate indie pop. The three bonus tracks come from the bands' first Matinée single A Short Film About Sleeping and show a small leap in fi, from lo to mid, but a small drop in the songwriting department. The songs sound just a touch forced and don't flow as well as the more intimate earlier material. A small drop just lowers them to very good instead of really good so it really shouldn't be used against the band. If you dug their first album for Matinée, you will definitely want to get this album too.   --All Music Guide
Pipas' songs may seem innocuous - short catchy pop songs - but they're so much more than that. Anyone who can't hear the magic in their songs needs to listen to "Don't Tell Me That" before writing them off. The second song on their recently reissued debut 10" ep Chunnel Autumnal, "Don't Tell Me That" is a study in simplicity and economy. It's a 2-minute song with just guitar, voices (those of Pipas' two members, Lupe Nunez-Fernandez and Mark Powell) and maybe a tambourine; that makes it seem like a trifle, like nothing with real weight. Yet the song's relaxed reflection, on ghosts - "can you believe he was there / sitting in your favorite chair" - on death, on mortality, and on the question of the afterlife, accomplishes so much emotionally with so little. Its reverberations are endless... yet before you know it you're listening to the next song, and it's breezy and lovely and modern, and it too has a line that your brain will catch on, that you will carry with you and think about. And then there's the next song, and the next...and soon it's over, but it's not. The sound of the songs - the way really beautiful pop melodies are put together with a few beats and things that make them dance around in your head - make for a CD that flies past in a really pleasurable way, yet after you're done listening certain words and melodies and sounds come back to you and get under your skin. Pipas is like that, and this reissue of Chunnel Autumnal, augmented with the 3-song "A Short Film About Sleeping" 7", is a reminder that they were like that right from the start, that their music has always been special, and will continue to be, whether it's valued most in this lifetime or the next.   --Erasing Clouds
It’s only the end of January and already the year is complete. Yes! Pipas have released another album! ‘Chunnel Autumnal’ is perhaps not as ambitious as ‘A Cat Escaped’ but it doesn’t need to be in my opinion, ‘cos it’s just so nice to hear Pipas jangle-out now and again. Opener, ‘Tout Va Bien’ does just this, and I just love the way that Mark and Lupe almost rush through their lyrics and the ‘ba-bas’. It’s just way too cute. Like a lo-fi Francoise Hardy, Lupe mumbles so delightfully across ‘Wells Street’, and sets the atmosphere for the rest of the album. For those who delight in bedsit chic – and there’s nothing particularly wrong with that – then this is the album for you. ‘Channel Autumnal’ is for indie pop fans who would rather holiday in Skegness than St Tropez, would rather have white toast than wholemeal, that maybe POSITIVELY enjoy being a bit pissed off. But who love pop music at the same time. This is the way that Pipas make me feel. And I love it. At the moment Pipas are my favourite band. I see no reason why you shouldn’t take a dip in the disappointed end too.   --Tasty
Sweet and cute, perfectly formed pop songs with nasty, jagged edges, or “Don’t Tell Me That”, where both boy n girl vox duet sweetly, “One of these days you’ll be gone forever” And now you’re getting the tone, the updated sixties, twinkling pop monochrome coloured in with cynicism and technology to make a clear eyed tissue-fest of tunes that dispassionately document life, love and all of that. Apart from “Moss Oval”, of course, where the strings are silk shrouds ripped by scratched guitaring and lovingly soiled by an urgently world-weary vox. It’s a funny-sad old world, “Chunnel Autumnal” has it’s genesis in 60’s London, it’s heart on the left bank, it sings about “Amsterdam” and has been signed by a Californian record label to be dribbled over by a bloke in Sussex.   --Unpeeled
Re-release of the 2001 Long Lost Cousin release with extra bits from the Matinée single ‘A Short Film About Sleeping’. 11 tracks all done and dusted in 25 minutes, it is an ideal summary of Pipas’ short, sweet hairclipped indie-pop that applies the Heavenly type to drum machines and tiny n’ tinny electronic bits which push them towards Pizzicato Five and Stereolab. These delicate rhythms serve only to enhance the bedsitty nature of their fruitful geek-chemistry. With their charming pop songs written on lap-tops, is this the new skiffle? It’ll do for me.   --Vanity Project
Back in 2001, the pop-loving duo of Lupe Nunez-Fernandez and Mark Powell quietly released their debut record, a ten-inch vinyl mini-album entitled Chunnel Autumnal. For the few who heard this record, it was an instant love connection. The duo’s songs were downbeat enough to be blue, but were frantic and catchy enough to stick in your heart. Short, concise and succinct, these songs would be a hint of what was to come with their debut album, A Cat Escaped--which found them running through ten songs in twenty minutes. Thankfully, Matinée has decided to reissue this brilliant little record, allowing fans like you to hear what the fuss was about way back when, while also collectors like me to enjoy these songs in all their glory, without having to fear scratching their vinyl copy. While their sound has remained the same, Chunnel Autumnal is very much a baby-steps record. Their sound had yet to gain the caffeinated groove-based energy of A Cat Escaped, but their pop skills were definitely on the increase, as the excellent “Wells Street,” “Tout Va Bien” and “Bye Bye” were instant standouts, with lovely singing, plenty of ba-ba-ba’s and tons of indie-pop sweetness. To make this record even more essential, Matinée’s added three additional songs, the wonderful “A Short Film about Sleeping” 7” debut. If you like your pop music hyper and sweet and a little blue but not too much, then Pipas has been waiting for you. You might have missed Chunnel Autumnal the first time around, but there’s no excuse now for missing out on what these two have to offer!   --Mundane Sounds