Tuesday, February 5, 2013

You Gotta Hear This...

So there's this fantastic group that Lindsay heard on NPR (yeah, yeah), and that I then heard on the Anthropologie soundtrack and came home all in a tizzy about. They are The Puppini Sisters, and they are delightful.

The Puppini Sisters formed after Marcella Puppini watched Les Triplettes de Belleville, an animated film whose primary characters include, among others, a group of women that sing tight, 40s-style harmonies, à la The Andrews Sisters. So, in the spirit of cross-cultural collaboration, this nice Italian girl found herself a couple of cute Brits and they started singing terrific cover songs, taking hits from the 70s, 80s and 90s and redoing them in what they call "tight, crunchy harmonies." They also do some older standards such as "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," but their covers of songs from later eras are the best. My favorite is a Big Band "Heart of Glass," originally done by Blondie. You can find it here: Heart of Glass. They also do a wicked rendition of I Will Survive.

Although each of those songs has remarkable and undeniable merits, my wife's favorite is their cover of Kate Bush's 1992 stunner, "Wuthering Heights." Bush's song is, of course, based on the gothic romance of the same name, and the music and vocals are apropos of such bizarrely spooky material. In fact, the video for the song leaves you wondering if you are witnessing a woman truly possessed by wily, windy demons or whether you, the listener, are on the receiving end of an elaborate hoax. Seriously, watch it. It's like nothing you've ever seen before.

I know, right? Can you believe it? What the eff is she doing, swirling around on those wily, windy moors, like a heather-hopping sprite beclothed in fire? It is just so strange. I mean, is she serious? Who knows, but I bet that's what Topher looked like in his modern dance class, don't you?

Anyway, my wife would say that regardless of the absurdity of Kate Bush she loves this song, but I think her undying devotion to the song is actually because of the havoc it plays with my sense of realism. She once did her best impression of the song (complete with wavering falsetto and unearthly, come-hither eyes) for Katie and me, (Katie whose now literally on Broadway) . For those of you who know how much it takes to get her to sing, this ought to explain just how much she adores this song.

So, back to the Puppini Sisters: they do a cover of this song wherein they pep it up and lose all the gothic eeriness, imbuing it instead with a shiny brightness. It's like the sisters went into Kate Bush's cobwebbed old mansion of a mind, opened all the curtains, dusted the furniture, mopped the floors, put some flowers out, and invited Cathy's ghost in for a nice cuppa tea and to dish about that nasty yet lovable Heathcliff from down the lane. I'm crazy about both versions, because they are each so distinctive, and each is somehow wonderfully archaic and contemporary at the same time. So without further ado, enjoy The Puppini Sisters singing Wuthering Heights. I so hope you like it as much as I do.
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