U is for “U.G.L.Y.” by Daphne And Celeste. Excellent records are often extremely difficult to write about: this is not an exception. Daphne And Celeste put the Smurfs, the Shangri-La’s and the Sequence in the same Laff-A-Lympics team, and when the starting gun goes off out comes a big flag saying “POP”. They might be some forty-year-old’s idea of what teenagers are like, but who isn’t these days? And never having been a teenage girl, what’s it to me if D & C don’t get it right?

“U.G.L.Y.”, then. It’s the cruellest record of the year, and according to Isabel it horrified staff rooms the nation over. “I think you should wear a mask and book that plastic surgeon fast” gets a laugh, but the chantalong chorus – “You’re ugly, yeah yeah, you’re ugly” is platinum-plated playground dynamite. When pop this brazen gets written about it’s usually in terms of how fine it sounds. Beats this and production that, with a dig at silly, solid old indie rock for good measure. Daphne And Celeste aren’t brilliantly produced, or phuturistic or groundbreaking: they don’t even have the sexy cybernetic poise you expect from the pop crop. They’re two girls who shriek a lot over catchy tunes and call people names, and even if that was no more realistic than Britney and company, it’s surely every bit as fun.

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