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June 2007

The Puppini Sisters
Betcha Bottom Dollar
Verve

They’re not sisters, and only one, raven-haired leader Marcella Puppini, is Italian. Her confreres in this curious threesome are British lasses Kate Mullins (the blonde one) and redhead Stephanie O’Brien. As the story goes, they met at London’s Trinity College of Music and were inspired by composer Benoit Charest’s score—a wildly inventive hodgepodge of Django-esque guitar work, Bach, hip-hop and clacking bicycle wheels—for the Oscar-nominated, French-Canadian animated gem The Triplets of Belleville to form a vocal group that mirrored Charest’s flair for era- and genre-blurring. Serendipitously, a demo tape found its way into Charest’s hands, and he agreed to produce this, their debut album.

It has been all the rage in the U.K. for nearly a year, attracting such wide-ranging fans as outré designer Vivienne Westwood, several of the Osbourne clan, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince William. According to their press material, they sing “like the Andrews Sisters.” Not true. They may dress like Maxene, Patty and Laverne, but the similarity ends there. Their tight, saccharine-sweet harmonies far more closely resemble those of the Chordettes (indeed, an exact replica of “Mr. Sandman” is a cornerstone of their repertoire) or the McGuire Sisters, as filtered through the Jazz Age sensibility of the Boswells.

Originally published in June 2007
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