What do you call a 20-piece female choir?

Well, if you're talking about this one specifically, you, very aptly, call them a Gaggle. Squeezing out somewhere between the Mediæval Bæbes and the early Klaxons, and along with the female pop 'realism' of Lily Allen clutching a beer whining something in Mockney over a synth base line, perhaps with a smidgen of Songs of Praise, you have Gaggle. As yet I am unable to understand whether I like them for their (strictly metaphorical) balls, or whether I just think they're a bit rubbish but have fooled me into believing that they are 'arty' and so worth the mention.

Dressed in lurid patterned capes that Florence Welch or any respectable feminist Inca goddess wouldn't think of turning their nose up to, Gaggle lend us their reworking of the choir format, all wailing, beat pumping songs about smoking and drugs, and, most interestingly, a reimagining of an opera written in 1958 specifically for the Women's Institute. They are all female, all choral, all between 21 and 39, and all with pseudonyms like Culwick and Venus, each holding down jobs as doctors and teachers, hiding in their art and for it, just in case the NHS catch wind that their employees are actually fond of a cigarette or two ... and like to sing about it at the Camden Crawl.

Their first single, I Hear Flies, I honestly hate, only hearing shit that is perhaps attracting the flies. The lyrics don't stand up to much either, but perhaps this is the point: 'I'm a drunk, I'm a drunk, want gin, get thin, win win,' they state pragmatically in the echo of choral unison. They are undoubtedly challenging our perception of what a choir can be, not a crumpet or a vicar in sight, so I suppose that is always good. According to their press statement, Gaggle is,
'A response to boring man bands and bad burlesque and a force to be reckoned with musically, sexually and creatively.' A-ha! So this is something to do with Feminism and Post Modernity! I suppose we should have guessed that already by the lack of thigh and hip-hop beats but instead obscurely positioned red and black cardboard houses placed over their heads in their promo video for the reworking of the WI opera, The Brilliant and the Dark. The original tells the story of female life from the perspectives of oppressed historical women, the new version tells us that anyone can wear a unitard, but only if you are a women who turns on cue and preferably wants it in red, black or white.

Ultimately, do I like it? No. Do I find it as interesting as everyone from NME to the Guardian have been saying? No. Am I more entertained and amused than if Johnny Borrell released a solo album of identical Kooks melodies? Yes. So Feminist mortarboards off to the Gaggle, but I will be watching you with the sound down and the festive choral tunes up instead, it's a win win.

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