After releasing a slew of hype machine singles and playing many well-received gigs, The Long Blondes are finally set to drop their debut. Garnering attention for their "glamorous punk" and Kate Jackson’s strong lead vocals, most of their early sound was raw and feverish, but their debut, produced by Pulp’s Stephen Mackey, evokes his band a great deal. The punk has been toned down for more of a 60’s pop/new wave vibe, as if radio-friendliness was a conscious decision. For better or worse, Someone To Drive You Home has been polished up a great deal amount more than its preceding releases, but still maintains its buzzworthiness.
Danceable and dangerous, The Long Blondes rely heavily on the knife’s-edge cynicism in Jackson’s voice. She croons on several tracks that makes ears perk since it’s rare to have such substantial vocals on dance-punk tracks. If Karen O was British and talked out of the bottom of her throat, she might sound like this. On "Giddy Stratospheres", Jackson back-and-forths answers with whiny questions, straight out of some 60’s girl groups with dominant lead singers. There’s a specific showmanship in her tone that nearly steals the show in each track, but at the same time, has a colloquial quality that keeps the songs punk-ish. On "Once and Never Again", she takes over the backing vocals and thumping throwback beat while high-pitched guitars try in vain to match her on the refrains.
Like a booze-soaked sock-hop, the band’s atmosphere is fun, dramatic, and slightly deranged. "Separated By Motorways" is a fast-paced dancetrack driven by an eye-twitchingly sour guitar riff and massively-catchy refrain emphasized by shouting "so long!". "You Could Have Both" starts of chugging, then drops into an empty-room, and back into a monotonous yell, which all combined, has a intelligently sociopathic feel. Other moments aren’t quite as strong, but continue to evoke their trendy, thorny spirit.
While Kate Jackson’s style, sound, and demeanor are responsible for a large amount of The Long Blondes’ notoreity, the band completely pulls off a mash of genres at such a stylish intersection that it’s hard to ignore. They churn 60’s dance, 70’s glam, and 80’s punk into a strangely modern swing that above all else, takes the pressure off of your own style and makes you shake it. And despite having their fervor muted a bit by studio tricks, The Long Blondes’ debut is still worth a listen.