PIPETTES | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Given the ongoing mania for retooling old pop genres (alt-country, disco punk, freak folk) it seems almost preordained that the 60s girl-group sound will get its day in the sun. At first glance, this act from Brighton, England--singers Becki, Rose, and Gwenno plus an all-boy backing band called the Cassettes--might seem like a silly joke. But the Pipettes (with a soft i, not like the chem-lab gear) are as authentically inauthentic as any Phil Spector creation. In 2003 guitarist and promoter Monster Bobby (aka Bobby Barry, now a Cassette) observed how much people liked the Shangri-Las and Ronettes songs he dropped into his DJ sets and began recruiting singers with the help of a friend who'd been reading the KLF's infamous manual on how to have a hit single. The women's matching polka-dot dresses and choreographed moves are picture-perfect, and the group's full-length debut, We Are the Pipettes (Memphis Industries), has the tunes to match. "It Hurts to See You Dance So Well" nails the vintage Spector formula with chirpy harmonies and glorious pop hooks, and the handful of cloying moments can't spoil the escapist fun. Smoosh and Monster Bobby open. a 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, 773-276-3600 or 866-468-3401, sold out.

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