Wednesday, August 28, 2002

Up All Night

Posted By on Wed, Aug 28, 2002 at 12:00 AM

The band this paper’s own Chris Handyside so deftly described in ’99 as “trash-rock” specialists (the “lo-fi aesthetic and lyrical celebration of the low life”) is back with a second full-length helpin’ of gore. The sound is sleeker and less primitive than on 2001’s Strange Girls — that CD featured a different lineup, with only guitarist/songwriter Amy Surdu remaining now, and was a distorto-fueled, in-the-red grrrl-punk affair. The sleeve even depicted the three ladies dressed in cavegal outfits. But it’s no less visceral or thrilling in its lascivious wham-bam-thank you-maan whomp. The Girls come across like the Marvelettes if they’d been garage-psych protégés of Ed (Chocolate Watchband, Standells) Cobb instead of Motown soul-pop divas. There are no simpering, “wait a minute!” pleas from the Gore Gores. Instead, they’re gonna drag the poor government employee down to the rumpus room, shag the bejeezus outta him and steal all the Social Security checks he was about to deliver to the retirees down the street before booting him out the door with boxers around his ankles.

In fact, one of the cover tunes essayed here (“I Don’t Think So”) has a distinctive “Please Mr. Postman” vibe, while the Goffin/King-penned “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” is similarly reverent to the girl-group aesthetic of perfume, eyeliner, smokes and switchblades. The originals are barn-burners too. “Automatic Love” wraps sexy-slutty vocal harmony come-ons around frat-rock guitar and the kind of surfin’ throb that’ll jump-start your woody wagon. The awesome fuzz-laden title track could pass for an unrecorded gem from the band’s garage-king labelmates the Cynics. “Tell Me (I’m Your True Love)” is a riotous, raucous ’60s-styled raveup. Worth noting: guest players include the album’s producer, Jim Diamond, on guitar and John Hentch on organ. Meanwhile, don’t forget to pick up the brand-new 45 from the Girls — on blood-red wax, no less — that Get Hip just dropped, “Keep Your Hands Off My Baby” backed with “I’m Gonna Get You Yet.”

E-mail Fred Mills at


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