New Musical Express

24 September 1988

Strawberry Switchblade

London Portlands

When Rose Switchblade tippy-toes out onto the stage one is instantly reminded that here is a girl who is known for a number of things, but respected for nothing. Her own fault.

Years ago, Rose and her little Switchblade chums discussed the contents of their handbags, socks and minds until they were quite, quite blue in their smiling strawberry faces. And they were cute, very cute. But perhaps too greedy. Within a year the strain had painted horrid mauve circles beneath their eyes. They were ready for the dustbin with all the stuffing knocked out of them.

Now Rose has a new sour bushbaby on co-vocals. She also has a man form Felt who tonight looks embarrassed, pulls his beret down over his ears and spends the gig with his back to the audience. He knows what we know; the most colourfaul parts of Rose - those bits that justify her mad and skittering career - have actually been borrowed without asking.

So... when we think we can hear the sound of thorns scraping against pale, dead skin; or witness in her terrible parted lips some manner of sly, sexual humiliation it is not Rose at all. It is merely the lunch she made of Lydia; a through trashing of AN Others' neon-lit sexuality and spunk. Rose's own virtues - that dusty pink sweetness, her trembly nowhere voice, and a rather horrid collection of mini-rags - seem rather tame in comparison.

Tonight poor Rose made the mistake of trying to walk over to a wild side she only vaguely suspects exists; territory best left occupied by the big girls...

Barbara Ellen