I first listened to The Concretes last year, as I worked backwards from their former singer, Victoria Bergsman, and her solo album East Of Eden, to their eponymous debut from 2004. Just as I had loved her album, I loved their work together as a group, but for very different reasons. The Concretes was a jangly pop mix of horns, strings and a sickly sweetness complemented by the accented, carefree, slightly odd vocal of Bergsman. Basically it was just really nice ”“ and I don”™t mean this as a put-down at all. It was like a musical equivalent of watching a decent feel-good film like Juno or Little Miss Sunshine or something. It was a cheerful listen that was surprising in how enjoyable it was.
Since then much has been made of Bergsman”™s departure back in 2007 and the effect of that on their album of that year, Hey Trouble. Many people seem to think that the band is still struggling to work out what they”™re doing without her, but this seems absurd to me. They replaced Bergsman immediately with then drummer, Lisa Milberg, who has a voice not dissimilar from her predecessor”™s and except for this change the line-up has stayed largely the same. So, surely this shouldn”™t have made too big an impact? Obviously I don”™t know exactly what role Victoria had in the band and maybe she did tell them what they all had to do at all times so that without her they fell apart, but for whatever reason they have taken a different direction.