Amelia’s Magazine | Racine and Wendy James- RACINE 2

It was my last London Fashion Week show, buy stuff and I didn’t think anything could shock me. How wrong I was: the first model walked like a newborn Bambi with rickets and was quickly followed by one who wasn’t wearing any pants. Oh my.

Models aside, approved the collection by London College of Fashion graduate Ioannis Dimitrousis single-handedly brought crochet out of the 1970s and back into the LFW collective consciousness. This show was entitled ‘back and forth’ and the multi-coloured weave design on the invitation hinted at what was to come. On the catwalk, recipe the weaved fabric of the garments represented the intertwining between different sexes, seasons and trends in fashion, focusing on the ease with which menswear can be translated into womenswear and Spring/Summer collections can be substituted for Autumn/Winter. It was a rather existential move for a collection, but one that does ring true in our current social and environmental climate, where boys can be girls and British weather can turn tropical.

In a quirky move, bells were sewn into the crochet ra ra skirts. The models sounded like kittens (or those delicious Lindt chocolate bunnies) jangling their way down the catwalk. Short flamenco-style dresses were a favourite, styled out of ribbons, plaited fabrics, weaving and tassels. Perfect for any showgirl.

Vibrant make-up had been applied like trailing stardust to the faces of both the male and female models. These were like the tears of a clown, and on the male models it didn’t just fall down their cheeks, but made its way to their navel (the gratuitous nudity was not limited to female models: go equal rights!)

This kaleidoscopic collection was just the thing I needed to perk me up on a Friday morning, injecting some much-needed humour into my day and the whole of LFW. Disliking ioannisdimitrousis would be as impossible as hating a rainbow.


Racine 2 is the ingeniously named second album by Racine, website like this an Anglo-American band fronted by Brit Wendy James. It is hard to define Racine’s sound; the album is a Juxtaposition of rock and a fair amount of roll, ampoule pop, stuff punk, electro and occasionally indie. Wendy’s vocals are pretty diverse too- she’s a rock babe, a French lady, a pop star, a loose-lipped lyricist and also just a really talented singer. Sometimes these vocals are irritating, yet at other times I found Wendy’s vocal range enjoyable. A particularly enjoyable track is Bobby’s going electric in which she talks the lyrics so quickly they roll off her tongue in indefinable words.


If Racine 2 was to be categorized we could probably label it as pop-rock. It’s occasional hard rock and roll electrics are balanced out by Wendy’s pop influence that she’s bought from her days in 80′s band Transvision Vamp. Actually, we will label this as ‘bitch-rock’! This album is packed with girl-power, including lyrics such as “come on speak your peace you double crossing chimpanzee, come on start swinging and I’ll crush you like a wormy apple”. Wendy’s lyrics seem to be highly involved with her 42 years of personal love life dilemmas and problems with men (or chimpanzees- whatever floats your boat love) which, call me bitter, I find really exasperating and boring. At least she’s bitching about men, throwing around more F words than Gordon Ramsey, rather than applauding them, that is always good!

This album is sexy (notably track three, again cleverly named Racine in which Wendy goes all French on us). Oh a perfect Valentines pressie to go with your stomach turning Hallmark cards! My favourite track Bobby’s going electric would be an interesting soundtrack to your Valentines evening. “Swing that ass and I’m on my way” which is repeated several times over became personally a little risky during standing moments on public transport, where there was always a fear of spontaneous, uncontrollable ass swinging! This is a great upbeat song but there are many skip-able ones within the album, particularly the slower ones.

Racine 2 concludes on the good note of Bitter Funny– a song about a whorehouse or drugs or something, with the hard-hitting intro “Hey numbnuts you forgot something, I got my pot, my pills and my pussy god damn it”! This is a great song, but I don’t think this album is great. Some of Racine 2 will be lucky enough to be salvaged from my itunes trash and live a life on my ipod, only some however, and who knows maybe I’ll be keen to force myself to grow to like some of Racine 3…

Categories ,Album Racine Wendy James Anglo-American Band Brit Sound Juxtaposition Rock Pop Punk Electro Indie Vocal French Singer Lyrics 80’s Sexy Valentine Drugs

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Amelia’s Magazine | The Hot Puppies


Blue Hands is the Welsh quintets follow up to Under the Crooked Moon and marks the departure point both in sound and inspiration. Showcasing an array of influences from just about every source, David Bowie, Neil Young, Kraftwerk and Edith Piaf are all apparently present, as is the Old Testament! Even Hollywood actress’ of the silent movie era are drawn upon. Orphans of The Storm tells the story of the silent actress Lillian Gish’s near death experience filming the movie of the same name.

But, there is something about this showcase of influences that doesn’t quite ring true and sounds more like PR spiel. Is citing the aforementioned Miss Gish and John the Baptist really evidence of ‘Hollywood Reporter meets the Old Testament’. In some instances, references seem to be thrown in for no particular reason, on King of England the serial killer Son of Sam is name checked right next to Fred Astaire.

At least, The Hot Puppies are not playing it safe and have tried to experiment, even if the results are not always successful. In the alleged Kraftwerk influenced, How To Choose a Wife synthesizers have indeed been used, but the end result is confused, and sounding in places like a programmed demo on a Casio keyboard. Again, on King of England it feels like the same Casio keyboard has been dragged out and just left to play. However, the experimenting does pay off on the seemingly two separate sounding songs that make up Secret Burial.

The most successful tracks appear where singer Becki Newman is allowed to showcase her yearning vocals without the addition of synthesizers. On Dear Brutus Newman is initially accompanied on pianos and it seems like The Hot Puppies have found their niche, but then the synthesizer comes in and competes for attention. Elsewhere, Newman’s voice soars on Somewhere, sizzles on Where the Werewolves Meet, and is powerfully heartbreaking on Blue Hands, the strongest track of the album. Other nice moments on the album are provided by the sing-a-long catchy chorus Disney would be proud of, on Clarinet Town and Orphans of the Storm showcasing the whispered subdued lead vocals of Luke Taylor.

With their burgeoning ability to straddle genres, The Hot Puppies could have music critics eating out of the palms of their hands. But, it seems they can’t decide whether they want to record ballad quality songs or live out all their synthesizer fantasies. So, The Hot Puppies have settled for doing it all and therefore suffer the consequences.

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