The Heart Throbs Cleopatra Grip
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The debut album by Liverpool's Heart Throbs (led by the twin sisters of late Echo & the Bunnymen drummer Pete DeFrietas) slots neatly into the overriding musical styles of U.K. indie pop circa 1990, mixing the post-punk directness of the Primitives, the swirling, dreamlike textures of the shoegazers, and the flirtations with dance rhythms introduced by the previous summer's Madchester explosion. However, the Heart Throbs definitely had their own unique style; for one thing, singer Rose Carlotti's lyrics, from the suggestive album title on down, are forthrightly female-centric in the manner of the Au Pairs' Lesley Woods or early PJ Harvey. It can be difficult to hear Carlotti behind Martin Hannett's echoey, hollow production, which shifts the guitars to the forefront, but the intent of songs like "She's in a Trance" and the searing, My Bloody Valentine-like "Kiss Me When I'm Starving" remains clear regardless. The slightly poppier singles "Tossed Away" and "Dreamtime" are the album's highlights but, while a couple of the songs coast by simply on atmosphere, Cleopatra Grip is a luxurious and compelling listen.