Hello trees! Hello sky! And why, who’s this, with their Casiotone keyboard and their polka-dot dresses and their little broken hearts, all bruised and beaten up from a spree of love affairs gone wrong? The name, for your Hello Kitty diaries, is The Research. And in league with comrades-in-cuteness The Chalets and The Pipettes, they’re out to take their feather dusters to the musty-smelling boys’ club of UK indie. You’ll fall in love. But we’d best warn you now, it might not last.
If the essence of twee is faked naivety, The Research fit the bill: take ‘The Way You Used To Smile’, a pick’n’mix bag of bouncy pop postmodernism about how Russell ‘The Disaster’’s relationship has hit the skids ever since he joined a band, with backing singers Sarah and Georgia cooing lover’s tiff words in sweet harmony. Clever – perhaps, on ‘C’mon Chameleon’, too clever. But just before sheen threatens to turn to smarm, The Research acknowledge twee works best when a dark side lurks just beneath the surface (see: Beat Happening, Belle & Sebastian’s ‘The Chalet Lines’). “Crack my bones, love me tender/I won’t be around much longer” quivers Russell on ‘Love Me Tender’. It’s the cute fringe combed over the exposed skull. It’s The Research done good, too little too late.