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Pretenders Day After Day

August 3, 1979 - Newcastle, England - Mayfair

A review written by Ian Ravendale from Sounds, August 11, 1979

The Pretenders/Interview

Seems to me that there's a new movement snuck up on us while no-one was looking. Consisting of outfits like Metro, Cowboys International and Interview, the crew who are currently the icing on the Pretenders' cake, they all have carefully considered wardrobes and £5 just-so haircuts.

What they specialize in is pop alright, but it's one slot higher on the clever-o-meter than the likes of Squeeze. Interview deal out short, sharp catchy songs in a short sharp manner. Vocally they recall Graham Parker backed by the masculine unison barber shop that folksters like Fairport Convention favour and the conglomeration works surprisingly well. Feels good to me.

The Pretenders have been labeled Sixties revivalists and nostalgia merchants. Forget the sixties nonsense. There's nods here and there, but no more than that. Yes, the singles do recall (gulp) Sandie Shaw vocally and yes, there's a few bygone-age guitar references, like the Jet Harris plonks on 'Kid', the Dave Davies solo on 'Need Somebody' and the Bo Diddley beat of 'Cuban Slide'. But if you're expecting Lulu And The Luvvers revisited, you'd better leave now.

What the Pretenders are doing is working with musical ideas, rather than the usual ingredients like melody and structure. I'm not totally convinced that it comes off all the time, mind you. Hynde's hiccupy vocals need strong songs to get stuck into. The understated approach works fine on 'Kid' but some of the other numbers gets a bit lost.

Chrissie! It isn't yet Chrissie Hynde's band The Pretenders, and the lads all get the opportunity to demonstrate what craftsman they are, but there can be no doubt that it is her band. She rivets and dominates throughout like no pudding I've ever seen. I abhor Elvis Costello's bite, but Hynde's bitchiness is definitely a bit of a turn-on.

Little touches like dedicating 'Tattooed Love Boys' to "Girls who don't mind waking up in the morning with cum all over their faces". And a T-Rexish version of Dion's 'The Wanderer' "For Marc Bolan, whose last hit was a tree" pin her down as a snotty, arrogant, all-American bitch. As she slides her guitar round her back and pelvises to and fro or crouches with her legs wide open you just know there isn't a bloke in the audience who wouldn't like to try to teach Ms H. a thing or three.

'Gonna use my arms, Gonna use my legs' she sings at one point. I believe it. Chrissie's gonna be a star and she knows it.

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