Impossibly shiny and accomplished emo-pop
If you could distil the shrill, lustful screaming of hormones as they course through adolescent blood, decode their molecular makeup and play the results back in sonic form, you wouldn’t be a million miles off the defiantly ludicrous but deadly serious sound of The Veronicas.
There’s more to these girls, idols in their native Australia and the States, than the usual shop-window pouting. Sitting between authentic and manufactured, sometime kids’ TV stars Jessica and Lisa Origliasso began writing songs together in their teens. Signed to a major in their native Australia, they were connected with top-flight pop songwriters to hone their craft – one result being ‘All About Us’, as recorded by TaTu.
That song is a good starting point: supercharged with near hysterical emotion, a bizarre hybrid of emo guitars, techno-lite and power ballads. But where that Sapphic duo were irritatingly, paedophilically coy, Jessica and Lisa are disarmingly frank; their music might be beloved of tweens, but these are women in their 20s and not afraid to flaunt it. Take raunchy lead single ‘Untouched’, with its slashes of strings, gasped refrain and pleas of “I want you so much/And I just can’t resist you”. And on the strutting, choppy ‘Take Me On The Floor’, we don’t think that ‘take’ is in the sense of ‘escort’.
As well as come-ons, there are some deft explorations of heartbreak (‘Someone Wake Me Up’, the vengeful ‘This Is How It Feels’ and the helium-soaring ‘This Love’) and plain old up-yours fun (‘Popular’). Like all pop albums, ‘Hook Me Up’ is overlong and occasionally plagued by ballad filler (‘All I Have’, ‘Goodbye To You’) but it’s real pop: trashy, unabashedly overemotional, actually loved by kids… and massive fun.