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Album review: Lipstick – Lipstick II

cover-finalThe golden age of glam challenged social and sexual norms with provocative rockers and a catchy tune or two. It took pioneers like Marc Bolan and David Bowie to give the riffs and theatre some substance. The resurgence of glam in the new millennium has seen bands like The Ark pair the stylistics with deeply personal lyrics, while across the pond hair metal is still alive and well. For fans of anime and glam (there’s more of us out there then you’d think) your new favourite band comes straight out of Nashville – Lipstick.

Made up of mascot Mr Cool; singer-songwriter Greg Troyan; bassist, lyrics and backups from Stephen Smith and completed by lead guitarist Casey Horn, Lipstick borrow from the best having travelled through time and space, discovering a universe severely in need of glam circa the 21st century. In more terrestrial terms, theirs is a fusion of musical styles held together by a childhood love of anime. Imagine Kiss or Twisted Sister touring the Sunset Strip with Ginger and the Wildhearts opening every night and you’re about there.

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The Lipstick generation

Hollywood’s Ghost in the Shell shows the mainstream is forever flirting with anime. Rather than a cash-in or gimmick, Lipstick wear their love of anime like a feather boa or technicoloured coat – proud and fabulous. Need proof? Well, there’s a cover of Dragon Ball Z’s first opening, the infectious ‘Cha-La Head-Cha-La’ which more than holds up as a glam number. Elsewhere there’s ‘Girl Dressed as Sailor Moon’, a sweet anime ballad where a boy’s first convention becomes a tumultuous love story. Props to the rhyming couplet “It was my first anime con/ And I was dressed like Ash from Pokémon”. ‘Rock N Roll Anime Girls’ is a fun throwback, coming out as if Nikki Sixx had plumped for Gundam over Jack Daniels.

Then there’s ‘Fake Nerd Girl’, an pop punk anthem waving the flag for geek girls the world over with some clever lyrics – “Sorry you have ovaries/ They will define your identity” and “Please don’t friendzone me/ For my blatant misogyny”. In a similar vein, the penultimate track ‘Lipstick Encourages You to Have Fun at Our Shows but Not at the Expense of Other Concert Goers’ is a dig at mosh pit machismo, and how for every man in make-up, there’s another who’ll knock his block off. As someone who went to school in mascara and eyeliner, I know the feeling.

While anime abounds, Lipstick aren’t as stubbornly dedicated as, say, a Star Trek punk band (they exist), and appeal as much to the pub rock circuit as us otaku. So a track like ‘You Can’t Stop the Rock’ is much a fist-pumping love letter to rock as anything AC/DC can lay claim to. ‘Electric Pussycat’ – featuring Ellie the Electric Pussycat – is something else entirely. Wired into the band’s trippy space/time concept, the track plays out like a thematic riposte to The Flaming Lips’ ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1’. While sporting the obligatory Christmas ditty, ‘Christmastime Machine’ is a practically a self-contained rock opera in its own right, blowing Wizzard, Cliff Richard and Shaky right out of the water.

To check out Lipstick for yourself, take a tour round their website and YouTube page. We just hope they get over to England sometime soon.

4 Comments on Album review: Lipstick – Lipstick II

  1. This actually sounds awesome. I loved Glam era stuff (my cousin is the bass player for Slade and was in MUD before that, so that probably helps), and the Wildhearts are great fun. Having a song against mosh pit machismo is absolutely brilliant too! I never saw the appeal in mosh pits, as they just made it harder to play air guitar and sing along with anthemic choruses.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Definitely worth a listen, and thanks for the comment. Wow, your brother sounds quite accomplished. I’ve got plenty of time for the Wildhearts – their debut is on heavy rotation in my car, haha.

      Can’t agree with you more on mosh pits.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cousin, though my brother is also a musician. He is indeed though, and Slade still put on a good show.
        I use the Wildhearts best of as one of my writing playlists. They’re a fun band which some ridiculously catchy sons. Caffeine Bomb still sits as one of my favourites.
        I just never understood them. I want to enjoy music, not have to fight of other concert goers while listening. I remember catching Lordi on their first ever UK gig (at the scala in London, and long before they were on Eurovision). The singer saw a mosh pit starting and went out of his way to get everyone clapping and fist pumping instead. I loved that.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Woah, your cousin is in Slade and Mud? That’s pretty awesome. Slade is my biggest visual influence so that’s pretty cool to hear, and who doesn’t love Tiger Feet (other than Yankees who don’t know what they’re missing). Also, Hi, I’m the lead singer! If you want a free sample from the new album to make sure we’re good, you can check download “You Can’t Stop The Rock” here:

    http://www.lipstickgeneration.com/downloads/d/Z29rdQ%3D%3D

    Not really anime inspired per se, but that one gives you a good idea for the sound.

    But for reals, though, I wanna cover “Tiger Feet” now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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