13 November 1982

Live review
Strawberry Switchblade

Strawberry Switchblade have recently parted company with their bassist and drummer. Rose and Jill, the remaining duo, have been soldiering on in the studio, rehearsing and recording backing tapes (with James Kirk) in preparation for their first large gig in Night Moves and two Radio One sessions.

So they're met with a mixture of curiosity and hope. Speculation is rife - what will they be like and will they blow it? The audience is already overwhelmingly, if reservedly, pro-Strawberry.

They look, as always, subtle yet wild; this leopard hasn't changed it's spots overnight. Polka dot pop with a sweet centre and a razor edge; the catchy 'Secrets' and 'Linda'. Favourite shorts. The set is as precious as usual, paying attention to fine details from the strawberry ribbons in their hair to the neat construction of what I used to describe as beach pop.

The difference, apart from the lack of bodies onstage, is far more subtle than I had imagined. The duo's emphasis has drifted from pop to folk and they will smile happily if you suggest they are reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel. The most deserving of this tag is 'Sunday Morning', soft and hymn-like and definitely folk-based.

Still, charged or not, they are irresistible. Strawberry Switchblade don't inspire excitement, but affection. They make words like 'nice' and 'lovely' spring into your mind but this is no criticism. They ARE nice, they sing lovely songs and have avoided inanity by carefully preserving a breathlessly delicate quality that is so hard to put a sweaty finger on.

The rough and tumble of a Glasgow audience loved them, even songs like 'Trees and Flowers' and 'Seaside' which can skirt uncomfortably close to cuteness.