Single review: ‘Pretty Girls’ by Sequin Sally

Over the past couple of years, pop music has seen an overwhelming resurgence of eighties influences. From Stranger Things to shoulder pads, popular culture today appears to be welcoming back the era with open arms. But Sequin Sally, newcomers to the electro-pop scene, are bucking the trend for synthesizers and shell-suits with their pared-down melodies and ethereal vocals.

Their single ‘Pretty Girls’ is a refreshing addition to the soundscape of contemporary pop. The tracks’ stripped-back nature allows front-woman Sally Isaacs’ vocals to take centre stage, and rightly so. Isaacs’ voice possesses a siren-like sophistication and impressive tone, but far from being sugary sweet, her lilting vocal range doesn’t shy away from clear, punchy lyrics. Isaacs does away with literary metaphors and her lyrics, as a result, speak volumes, effortlessly exploring the dynamics of sexual desire beneath sun-drenched guitar riffs and layers of pop sheen. Indeed the song-writing and soft melodies echo the influence of Alvvays and Teenage Fanclub, music that toes the line between sunny and razor sharp.

The song itself has an infectious timelessness to it, gentle and dreamy, but is evocative and nostalgic without being outdated. In fact, the song speaks directly to a new generation of listeners who are demanding pop that is representative and socially aware; ‘Pretty Girls’ is a refreshingly modern ballad in this sense. In a musical genre in which artists traditionally shy away from directly addressing the LGBTQ experience, Sequin Sally positions LGBTQ romance lyrically at the heart of its music, as Isaacs croons, “Pretty girls like you/Got me wondering what to do/Got me feeling so confused”; this is pop at its best, softly delivered words that are refined, relatable and raw.

The band has already amassed a cult following within their native stomping ground Manchester, selling out shows across the city. With their refined sound and established presence on the local music scene you’d be forgiven for assuming they are well seasoned within the industry. In fact ‘Pretty Girls’ is a single from what will be their first EP, produced with label Uncommon Ground; it is a confident and well-positioned step into the professional music scene. ‘Pretty Girls’ as a track provides a mere taster of the future potential of the band.

You can catch the band themselves on the evening the 26th April, performing a headline gig at Jimmy’s in Manchester’s Northern Quarter.

Aoife Inman

Image: Sequin Sally

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