Pipas - Bitter Club EP

matinée 052  /  February 2004
Pipas - Bitter Club EP
cdep   $5.00

digital   $4.00

Pipas - Bitter Club EP

matinée 052  /  February 2004

Wonderful new EP from wildly popular international jetsetters Pipas! Featuring all exclusive new tracks, the "Bitter Club" EP is six songs in the chord of bitter. Lead song "Mental" is like the bitterness of going to a party after realizing that you're not really going to be there, even if Burt Bacharach is playing a song for you. Title track "Bitter Club" isn't really that bitter, in fact perhaps it's sweeter than any of the others. Mark goes for a walk and ends up rolling out the backwards guitar and slicing the vocals all My Bloody Valentine-like; Lupe steps to the sidewalk, but the pa-pa-pa's don't stop. "Sixten" is reminiscent of those classic early Bananarama collaborations with Fun Boy Three - all echoed vocals and protagonist beats. It may be bitter but it's a dance hit and a vintage cut from the Pipas vaults. "Minilife" is short and to the point. Its other half will appear one of these days. Guitar and voice au naturel...nudity of this kind would be indecent past 36 seconds! "Jean C" is a bitter love song. It all started when a London cabbie tried to show Pipas the central sights. When the good things and the bad collapse, best to go back and take it where it all started. Hopelessly hard core Pipas: romantic to the end, with nice harmonies. Like a meowing cat, it might bring tears to your eyes. Finally, "South" (bend.able mix by pandatone) is a track taken from the recent album Golden Square (on Spanish label Annika Records) and transformed into a music box reverie, full of uncoiled springs and bursting water pipes, by the wonder of Pandatone. Six extraordinary new songs from one of the most popular bands today.

  1. Mental
  2. Bitter Club
  3. Sixten
  4. Minilife
  5. Jean C
  6. South (bend-able mix by pandatone)


Kicking off with a suitably Spanish slant with the always delicious Pipas and their Bitter Club EP on the always delightful Matinée label. As you know, I was seduced by their A Cat Escaped album last year, and was very much looking forward to this new batch of post-irony post-modern Pop songs. Pipas admirably handle the tricky task of blending apparently conflicting influences and genres into one masterful whole; so melodic electronica, drum’n’bass, acoustic folk and frail fey indiepop all rub shoulders in a mix that you think should be awkward, all elbows and skinned knees, but is in fact a perfectly proportioned parcel of pure Pop. Of course it helps that none of the songs outlives its welcome, and with nothing clocking at more than a shade under two and half minutes, these are pocket masterpieces that light up the sky with brittle cracks of spangled phosphorescence.   --Tangents
Another toothsome record from Pipas, following on from A Cat Escaped. Acoustic guitar guides delicate melodies laid out over Casio-style shuffles and blips, pauses that fill themselves with string-theory squiggles, over-teeming with young wisdom: ‘Love just fades away’, or ‘I took a day off work to see the world in a better way.’ The best moment is ‘Jean C’ where she requests her love to ‘meet me at the Jean Cocteau on Leicester Square, don’t you know it was there I fell in love with you.’ How very sophisticated. I would give a finger and three toes to be as cool as these people.   --Wide Open Road
This month’s excellent Matinée release comes from the unstoppable Pipas hit machine, who slip into your life with six more wonderful tracks. Quite simply, there’s no one to touch Pipas at the moment for bitter sweet pop, whether it be the lead track ‘Mental’, which disguises spite in the most sugar sweet pop wrapper, whilst ‘Bitter Club’ Mark ponders on the hobby of waiting for something. ‘Sixten’ is altogether more funky, with the sort of snappy drum beat heard on The Stone Roses’ ‘Fool’s Gold’ with Lupes coming over all sultry. If that isn’t enough, then give ‘Jean C’ a listen, because it might be the best song you’ll hear this year. It’s almost Smithsian in its melancholy – in fact I’d love to hear Morrissey cover it, because it’s right up his alley, so to speak. Anyway, yet another triumph for both Matinée and Pipas.   --Tasty
On the six-song Bitter Club, England's Pipas unveil a half-dozen refreshing songs. The group continues to impress through sheer simplicity and wonderfully light musings. The opening “Mental" showcase the duo's infectious indie pop sensibilities, along with their drum machine-based backdrop. Their simple sound is their strength, and Lupe leads the way with her gentle whispering over gentle beats. The title track is next, with Mark taking over on vocals on a track wrought with painful sincerity. The disc is brief, filled out with no-nonsense songwriting and storytelling, like the brief and focused “Sixten," and the light and airy “Jean C." The disc ends with the layered electronics of “South," originally found on the Golden Square album, remixed and given new life on Bitter Club. California's Matinée Recordings released the disc in 2004, whetting fans appetites for a new full-length from the indie pop legends-in-the-making.   --All Music Guide
instead of banging out more pointless record reviews, I should be final-cut-pro-ing my pipas vids for "mental" and "jean cocteau"—the two top hits here on this hit-packed ep named for a chocolate bar of course. "mental" is a thinking person's dance track while "jean cocteau" is the song you put on a mixtape for the person you are dumping. we also get a crunchy remix of "south" by brooklyn's pandatone. rad. !!!   --Chickfactor
Sometimes short and sweet is the better way to go. I mean, really, when you want a milkshake, you want a milkshake, not the whole damned ice cream truck, right? Such is the case with Pipas’ newest EP, Bitter Club, which features six all-too-short tracks of the band's beat-driven, ethereal indie pop. “Mental” kicks off this little gem with light drum programming backed by breezy acoustic strumming and Lupe Nunez-Fernandez’s light, pleasant voice. As the track continues, traces of orchestration (in the form of strings and what sounds like a French Horn) gradually take over, leaving only the drum programming. It’s nice, but very slight, and you get the feeling that the song might float away at any second. “Bitter Club” ups the electronic elements even more with various bleeps, hums, and bloops while still retaining an organic feel (again, due to the gorgeous acoustic guitar plucking) before delving into a well-played ambient outro. During the song, however, Mark Powell takes over lead vocals, and his voice is a pleasant surprise, a light tenor that flirts just around the edges of being too droll and ironic for the light, pretty backdrop. “Sixten” has a fun, slighty funky feel to it as the beats go racing along at a nice clip, Lupe singing laconically over them. Following a short filler track (the interesting, but way-too-short at 34 seconds “Minilife”), the EP resumes with its last real track by the band, “Jean C” (there is another track, a remix by Pandatone that, while interesting, seems to serve as filler). This track is more typical indie-pop in the vein of Belle & Sebastian, perhaps showing what Pipas’ songs sound like before they garnish them with electronic elements. Overall, this is a nice little EP, and one that handily deconstructs my previous milkshake analogy: sometimes, you do want the whole ice-cream truck. Give us more music, Pipas, MORE! NOW!!!   --Delusions of Adequacy
Pipas are one of the most consistently wonderful twee-pop groups around today, and this brief six-song ep is a perfect follow-up to last year's "Golden Square" album. The disc starts with "Mental", a bossa-tinged tune which bounces along quite nicely, and is probably one of the best-sounding Pipas songs to date. "Bitter Club" follows, with Mark taking the lead vocals with his melancholic voice, making it the best song the Pet Shop Boys never wrote. With just vocals, guitar and drum machine, "Sixten" is more bare in its arrangement, but not as much as the 34 second long "Minilife", a short and sweet vocal piece with the acoustic guitar mixed so low, that it's almost an a capella tune. The following "Jean C" is classic Pipas, but the final track (a remix of "South" by Pandatone), while an interesting take on the original, isn't really all that exciting with all its bleeps and bloops   --IndiePages
Here are “six songs in the chord of bitter”, according to the accompanying tipsheet, but this is a strain that you’ll be familiar with. It’s not ‘bruised indie’, Pipas are too intelligent for that; neither is it fey, wet-behind-the-ears melancholia. Instead, Pipas approach the ears from the left, marrying the gentle experimentalism of Hefner to the bleeding-heart honesty of Tompaulin or Tex La Homa. Through it all though they shoot an unexpected seam of sunshine pop, often sounding exactly like a disinterested, disheartened Pizzicato Five. It’s not one to listen to if your girlfriend’s just walked out on you, though it might at least allow you to make sense of your predicament. Who says music can’t improve your life?   --Logo Magazine
We review singer Lupe's contribution to the Tender Trap single elsewhere, but here's the real Pipas experience and a worthwhile one it is too. Caught in the breeze blowing a Sarah/C86 delicate flower beauty toward glitchy disfigurement, they actually create something quite startling - being much more radiant than it is deformed, adding elements of a baggy looseness, drum n' bass directness and US college rock a la Juliana Hatfield en route. Both the gloss and twinkle of 'Mental' as well as the cute lethargy of 'Bitter Club' showcase the duo's overriding romance and gentleness.   --Vanity Project
For those of you scratching your head and wondering if you are in the right place let me reassure you that this isn’t the homepage for Pipas, the duo who were so eloquently described as the creators of "bagel pop" in last week’s issue. Such a music genre is too good to waste so I decided to tell you about their new EP 'Bitter Club'. The EP, far from being bitter, is full of sweet light bagel-pop (it's going to catch on). It bounces, it weeps and it manages to interwine distorting and electrical fuzz with honey melodies that melt in the mouth. Beginning with a sharp intake of breath the EP races quickly but exuberantly through the bubbly opening number 'Mental'. Lupe's vocals are, as ever, guilelessly pure and sparkle throughout the EP. 'Bitter club' itself plays with warped noises while the lyrics, sung by Mark, tell a slightly forlorn tale. The words "I took the day off work today to see the world in a better way" reflect the introspective observant feeling created by the song. The song 'Jean C' is genuine honest and natural and produces beauty through the simple admission of love. 'Bitter club' contains a distincitive charm that comes from the contrast between the almost apologetic but irrepressibly exuberant nature of the band. It is undeniable one of the best examples of bagel-pop that I’ve ever heard.   --Friends of the Heroes