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THE RESEARCH Breaking Up EMI (2006)

The Research

The Research are a Wakefield three-piece - Russell Searle (keyboards / vocals), Georgia Lashbrook (bass / vocals) and Sarah Williams (drums / vocals).

'One of the things I like about The Research’ says Russell 'is when people see us they’re thinking 'Yeah, I could do that’’. And that’s what immediately strikes you about Breaking Up. The sound is simple - the keyboards have an eighties synth feel and while the vocals are harmonious they have a charming unrehearsed quality.

For the most part The Research music is 'happy music’ - upbeat melodies that sound like they’re pouring form a wonky old organ / keyboard that is being given a good old knees up after a few beers. The Beach Boys are a stated influence and you can see the connection, but it’s an intentionally simplistic interpretation. And Russell’s vocals bear more than a passing resemblance to that other northerner (admittedly a bit further north and east) Paddy McAloon of Prefab Sprout.

So imagine Paddy’s had a few scoops, he’s got a battered keyboard and he’s pulled a couple of girls from the dance floor - think Joanne and Susanne from The Human League. Paddy’s giving it some and they’re attempting Beach Boys harmonies on a Soft Cell cover. That’s possibly doing The Research an injustice, but it gives you a flavour.

The album was recorded under the aegis of John McIntire (Stereolab, Teenage Fanclub) in Chicago using old fashioned recording techniques to get that simple sound.

The main criticism is that The Research seem to have a single pace - which involves what becomes a tiresome tapping at keyboard, but the closing track Splitting Hairs is a beautiful accapella number which demonstrates just what could be achieved with a bit more variety.


Review by Pete Whalley

***** Out of this world | **** Pretty damn fine |
*** OK, approach with caution unless you are a fan |
** Instant bargain bin fodder | * Ugly. Just ugly

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If Wakefield is the centre of your universe and / or you fancy fresh twist to that classic eighties Human League / Soft Cell era..

Burn baby burn

Love Me Tender
Lonely Hearts Still Beat The Same
Splitting Hairs