‘Bec and Beth’ sounds like a schoolbook graffito or a best friends’ declaration scraped into the top of a school desk. The “best friends” part is certainly right; this is Becky Wood (neé Newman) and Beth Gibson from The Hot Puppies, using time off from touring to work together on an EP of minimalist soul-baring torch songs, in this case three covers and one original. Just as the Hot Puppies have moved away from indiepop, Bec and Beth are exploring their own eclectic influences.
Becky Wood could always sing: we know that from the Hot Puppies, but ‘Anyone Who Had a Heart’ shows that she has the English rose of voices, delicate but ultra-strong. Beth’s piano backing is stripped back and skeletal, the better to reveal the pulsing, bruised heart at the centre of the song. “Achingly pretty” is the only way to describe their version of the Smiths’ ‘Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me’ while their self-penned ‘French Song’ splices romance and heartbreak. They round off their record with a cover of ‘I’m Making Believe’ from the 1944 film Sweet and Low-Down, sung with a fervent longing that evokes the vocal groups of the 40s and 50s (or a Dennis Potter soundtrack). It’s a record full of blushing charm and with all the thrill of the unrequited crush, the voices so good they’d shine in the company of much lauded divas like Duffy and Adele.