Written By: Heather Wysocki
Label: Modus Vivendi – Rating:
It’s not usually a good sign when the first thought about a band fronted by a Betty Page look-a-like is that it sounds like something off a Patty LaBelle b-side. But Love Grenades’ sexy Page doppelganger, Elizabeth Wight, seems to have found the perfect formula to become a dance-floor mainstay, and that equation certainly doesn’t include originality.
That said, the debut EP by the band, “Tigers in the Fire,” is turning heads at clubs in Los Angles and NYC with its mix of die-hard devotion to pre-techno music and their knack for picking awesome DJs to remix their singles. Titular “Tigers in the Fire” is chock-full of 70s influence, bringing back the high-pitched backup singers and love-on-roller-skates feel of that era. All in all, though, the album is a bit confusing; the original “Tigers in the Fire” is all fancy-free flirting, Saturday Night Fever and Blondie, while Martin Peter’s mix turns it into a more Lady Gaga-esque cut-myself-onstage-for-the-drama haunter. Here, Wight’s vocals are more growl than come-on, bringing far more of the ferocity of the single’s namesake tiger into the mix than the original single even got close to.
Keeping a bit more loyal to LG’s more-comfortable-under-the-disco-ball feel is the Wayfarer mix of the same song. And just when three listens of “Tigers” is enough, there’s the Disco Damage mix, the most successful in turning Wight’s bubblegum-and-gold-lamé jam into a true club remix, the sort of thing anyone at Hyde would be happy to dance to (or their Real Housewives of Orange County-esque moms). Still, four remixes of the same song do not a complete album make, and “Tigers In the Fire” proves that it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
New sounds come along at track 4, “Off to Sea,” which stays true to the same disco-remix sound but showcases Wight’s surprising vocal aptitude, something that’s overlooked earlier. “Off to Sea” has more bite than “Tigers,” though those cheesy lyrics stay put. The most promising track, a Sam Sparro-remixed “Young Lovers,” delivers completely, bringing a similar pinup-sexy feeling but creating a more polished version of anything else Love Grenades’ first disc puts forth. Traditional disco sounds aren’t overworked here, a la “Tigers,” thanks to Sparro’s fantastic use of restraint. This one belongs in the next Grand Theft Auto, and that’s a compliment (there’s nothing better than a song that’s perfect for driving recklessly to).
Wight is a devotee of the modern pop feminism of Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears, and she brings that same idea of promiscuity as a right to every track. And unlike her blonde counterparts, who are apt to sneak in a devoted-to-my-man ballad, she makes her independence very, very clear, repeatedly spouting lyrics like “ain’t nobody gonna tell me that I can’t get down,” and the polyester pants suit-classy “I can screw anyone that’s nice then walk away.” It’s a nice ideal, but The BeeGees have got you beat at jive-talkin’, Elizabeth, and it’s never good to get one-upped by three guys in leisure suits!
The purpose of remixes and EPs is, usually, to showcase depth in a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately, while Love Grenades’ “Tigers In the Fire” EP is a good listen on a dark night, full of sultry bass and come-hither lyrics, its the disc’s remixes that really stand out, effectively de-clawing Wight and turning “Tigers” into little more than sex-kitten pop.
Like Love Grenades? Try Blondie, Lady Gaga, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs