Jill Bryson and Rose McDowall made up the 80s Scottish pop band known as Strawberry Switchblade. They are mostly recognized for their 1984 hit song “Since Yesterday”, which had upbeat instrumentation and melancholic lyrics. “Since Yesterday” became a huge hit in the UK and Japan, but Strawberry Switchblade quickly lost popularity and had disbanded by 1986. I guess people were not feeling all the polka dots.
I discovered Strawberry Switchblade while I was researching BubbleGoth. I came across a really cute site that categorized the different types of Goths. The site stated that Perky Goths would listen to Strawberry Switchblade. The name of the band itself intrigued me. Such a rad name for a band. Strawberry Switchblade is both cute and tough. So, I looked them up and I really liked what I saw/heard.
First off, these girls have a very unique fashion sense. I can see why they became popular in Japan. Their style is a little bit Lolita, but the girls still have that big 80s hair. I think they were also inspired by Goth fashion with their dark eye makeup and the black latex that Rose wore in some of their performances. I really love the fact that Rose and Jill made a lot of their own clothes, too. They would take a dress and cut it up, adding embellishments to make it one-of-a-kind. Two of Strawberry Switchblade’s staples were flowers and hair ribbons. Nobody else was rocking the look below.
Strawberry Switchblade’s music may not be for everyone. They were definitely marketed as a pop act and the music followed accordingly. What I find most interesting about their sound is its blend of light and dark. The synths and keyboards create a happy, energetic atmosphere. But, the lyrics are pretty depressing. There is a lot of pain and lost love strewn throughout Strawberry Switchblade’s only album. The songs can be immature at times, too. “Let Her Go” is about a jealous girl who wants her best friend’s boyfriend out of the picture. The song is both empowering and silly. And the video sure is cute.
At this point I am starting to develop an affinity for polka dots. Strawberry Switchblade surely broke the mold with their look. Their music may not be anything special, but I enjoy it. I think that Jill and Rose could have honed their music into something really great if they weren’t pushed into a commercial pop sound. Why must record labels change artists? The label wasn’t able to take all of their creativity away, though. These girls were DIY queens until the end!