You’re no doubt aware that Poppy & The Jezebels are the frighteningly young (all of them aged between 14 and 16) Birmingham quartet of Nico-loving girls who penned last year’s rather brilliant ‘Nazi Girls’ single. That song, PC watchdogs, showed the band to be wiser than you may think as it transpired that a Nazi girl, as they delicately put it, is someone who tries to dictate what you should wear, do or listen to. “We are not Nazi girls,” they reassured us.
The song is included here on the band’s debut mini-album and, what’s more, it’s still as fresh as the faces that chirp it out like Joni Mitchell paying tribute to The Velvet Underground. In comparison to this lot, a band like Good Shoes are pop dinosaurs, washed up as they venture into their twenties. But unlike the Morden boys and countless guitar slingers like The Kooks or The View, Poppy & The Jezebels choose to avoid indie-pop standards to inspire their compositions. In truth Mollie Kingsley’s half-spoken vocals (à la the first lady of Britpop, Elastica’s Justine Frischmann), along with their whirling, menacing synth mean The Jezebels’ sound is strong enough for her to be singing about double maths, should she so wish. Musically, things are pretty interesting too. Take the desert road lolloping of ‘The Lips Of Cleopatra’ – it whiffs of eerie John Cale minus his bus pass and black heart, or even of The Doors’ ‘Riders On The Storm’ for its refusal to stop moving. If you’ve always thought that ‘kid rock’ should be a short, sharp punch to the ribs, this proves otherwise. And ‘Nazi Girls’ aside, so does the whole of ‘Follow Me Down’.
The irony is this: ‘Follow Me Down’ sets an impressive standard for a new generation. It’s a promising album which will inevitably and subconsciously have these four Brummies dictating to their peers – Nazi girls, whether they like it or not.