A teenage lesbian duo from Russia may sound like a marketing man's fantasy rather than a living, breathing pop band. But Tatu are real enough - and for the moment at least they're the centre of everyone's attention, having taken up residency at the top of the charts all over Europe. The really shocking thing about them, however, is that behind all the raunchy videos and the media hype, the debut album from Yukia and Lena turns out to be really rather good. Produced by the 1980s pop doyen Trevor Horn, it's essentially a superior synthpop record that combines the melodic sensibility of the Pet Shop Boys and Erasure with the girls' hypnotic, faintly menacing harmonies. They even have the audacity to cover The Smiths' How Soon Is Now with reasonable success, although their rather dour delivery suggests that the humour of the original completely passed them by. Tatu's novelty value won't, of course, last forever. But for now, they're as entertaining as anyone in mainstream chart music - and a welcome change from the anodyne muppets who clog up most of the Top 40 these days.
Review by | 09:00 | Wednesday 19th February 2003 | Album Review