Dig the Pipettes' cute-as-a-button throwback girl-group stylings? Then go further back in time with this fellow U.K.-based trio, an Andrews Sisters-styled close-harmony act that frontlady Marcella Puppini (the only true Puppini of the bunch) formed with a pair of music-college pals after seeing Les Triplettes de Belleville a few years ago. The women tackle plenty of period material on Betcha Bottom Dollar, their effortlessly appealing debut, including "Mr. Sandman," Irving Berlin's "Sisters" (from White Christmas), and "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy," the Andrews Sisters' indelible World War II staple.
Yet the Puppinis also subject more contemporary material to their studiously old-school treatment here, an obvious sop to younger listeners that nonetheless yields real creative rewards. Highest novelty-pop points go to "I Will Survive," which they sap of any urgency but frost with a knowing sass. Blondie's "Heart of Glass" is fun, too, with the disc's nimblest vocal performances. But the Puppinis' most potent reading is their take on Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights," where they flip the script on the doomed romance of Bush's original (and Emily Brontë's novel) with a peppy arrangement that makes the tune sound like it's being sung from Heathcliff's perspective, not Catherine's. As Bush covers go, it's up there with Maxwell's "This Woman's Work" and the Futureheads' "Hounds of Love."—Mikael Wood
The Puppini Sisters perform on Thursday, August 23, at the Fine Line Music Café; 612.338.8100
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