Single review – The Other Side of Grey by The Hepburns featuring Estella Rosa (2021) (Elefant Records)
You know the old story. Girl starts up sophisti-pop Facebook page. Respected sophisti-popper boys from Wales post one of their tracks. Girl loves it. Boys love girls enthusiasm and before you know it a union is just around the corner…
…and of course what a union it is. With The Hepburns providing their usual erudite juxtaposition of everything that is playful and slightly ramshackle about the C86 genre that they have moved within across 12 albums and 35+ years, with their propensity to imbue the aesthetic, with all than is ‘buffer and sheen’ about the sophisti-pop genre.
Joining them on vocal duties are the beautiful chords of Estella Rosa, who is most notably known from providing one half of the jangly indie sweetness, that is the band Nah.
On this track she moves gracefully away from the sweet, floaty, vocal inflections of her full time act and glides with a sophisto-pop purpose, as she proffers gloriously rounded vocal intonations that evoke comparisons to the smooth twee-pop of acts like Remington Super 60 and Watoo Watoo. She is the poised, call and response foil, to the perfect imperfections of the usual Matt Jones vocal brilliance, as everything permeates effortlessly together.
If you elect to buy the single separately (see link below) you also get non-album, B-side, The Midnight Guy. This track is steeped in kitsch Bacharach retro and is everything that 60/70s pop provides at it’s finest, feelgood schmaltzy. This time led by the Jones vocals, with Rosa’s input fluttering with subtle intent around every corner, it may be hard for some to discern which of the two tracks on the single has more appeal.
The Architecture of the Ages album be released by Elefant Records on 15 October 2022 and you can pre-order it on limited edition CD / Vinyl here… don’t miss out, something this special is unlikely tobe around for too long !