17 August 2013

Shampoo - We are Shampoo

Before I start this, I'm a big boy, so bring on the insults. I can take it.

Shampoo were going to be my One Hit Wonder choice, but it turns out this feisty, bratty duo bothered the Top 40 four times in all.

For a huge Manic Street Preachers fan, I should know a bit about Shampoo, but they escaped me quite a bit. I know they were fans, I know they ran a fanzine called???

But were they awesome pop stars? Did they, and not the Spice Girls invent GIRL POWER?

Welcome to 'We Are Shampoo'!

Phwoar! Look at them. 12 year old me is very happy right now!
Hmm.. Wonder what they look like now.  Note to self: Google.

Sorry, lost track a little.

Shampoo are NOT a girl band, OK? They are so much more.  They are a manifesto. A way of life.  They are here to kiss boys, pull their pants down, steal their money and car keys, crash the car, burn the wreckage, fuck the policeman.... lost track again!

Point is, I loved Shampoo.They were rock hard. But all I knew about them was they were in Trouble.  I was about 17 when I went back to Shampoo.  Bought this album.  Lost it soon after.  Now, after researching Shampoo again as an Old Man I discover their true story.  It turns out Shampoo have a pretty comprehensive Wikipedia page, and were active until the year 2000 (aside from a re-release of this album featuring B Sides in 2007).

'We Are Shampoo' was released in 1994 after the hit single 'Trouble' reached #11 in the UK chart.  'Trouble' ain't even the best song on the album.  That award goes to 'Me Hostage' which is riff-tastic.  Listening to the album knowing that Jacqui and Carrie were huge Manics fans makes me feel like they wanted to use the same strategies as the Manics did back in the day; shock value / glitter / glam and punk attitude. The short sharp riffs in "Shampoo You" could easily have been played by the early Manics, as could parts of 'Glitter Globe'.  You can hear Sex Pistols in there too.  The duo say that the Beastie Boys were an influence, and this is evident on 'Saddo'.

Shampoo were apparently huge in Japan.  This isn't surprising either to be honest, as the Manics were too, in the beginning.  When they were winning.... sorry.

Anyway, so you get the idea.  Basically, this album serves as a clarion call;
We're here, we're way cooler than you, boys are smelly, and don't mess with us.  'Viva La Megababes' does this perfectly, with lyrics like "We're such a hot sensation / What a creation" and "cameras watching when we go shopping / better step aside 'cos we just ain't stopping".

The best way to understand this album is to appreciate it for what it is; pure tongue in cheek.  These girls have massive egos but more importantly knew how to flaunt it.  This here was designed as a fuck you to both teen-pop and the UK Riot Grrl scene whilst also fitting nicely into both.  They also dare to attack divas like Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston on 'Dirty Old Love Song'.

Did I mention there's an awesome cover of 'House of Love' by East 17 too?  the girls claim to have been fans...

Check this out.  Appreciate the irony.  I have, and now Shampoo sit proudly beside Kenicke and many others in the 'Cool Chick Bands' section of my musical tastes.

Here's a clip of 'Trouble' from Top of the Pops 2...

7/10:  This is good and well worth a check.

Listen on Spotify (This has the extra B-Sides from the 2007 re-issue.  Excellent is an excellent song.)
Buy from Amazon
Buy from Cherry Red Records

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