One thing's for certain, especially now that history has demonstrated it decade after decade: Good pop-punk, or punk-pop, always sounds pretty good when it's executed correctly. And Gorvette — a collaboration between Nikki Corvette and Amy Gore, two of Detroit's best-known female rockers — do it extremely well, just as anybody familiar with their past achievements in the bands respectively named after each lady would expect.
But these gals ain't no pussies, simply dishing out the hard bubblegum-lite styling of West Coast wimps like the Go-Gos (who were influenced by Nikki & the Corvettes in the first damn place) or the Bangles. Not by a long shot. In fact, Gorevette actually got Deniz Tek — the great Detroit-influenced Australian guitarist and Radio Birdman leader (who, as Iggy Pop revealed in these pages, almost briefly replaced Ron Asheton in the Stooges) — to lend his wild punk chops to two tunes on this fine debut EP, including the opening "Nothing's Gonna Stop Me," which kicks things off with a sinister but fun, good-bad but not evil vibe that's as old as … well, punk rock itself. Tek and the girls, plus drummer (the quartet's rounded out by bassist Lianna Castillo and drummer Al King), later repeat this sure-fire formula on the infectious "Brand New Lover." But even though most modern garage ax players pale next to Tek, Gore, who also produced the disc, is a pretty damn fine punk guitarist in her own right. And even without Tek's thrashing, the material — either co-written by the two ladies or by Gore alone — always aims for that melodic punk-pop hybrid popularized by such forebears as the Buzzcocks.
On the Stooges tip, "Fake It," perhaps the best song here, is positively Iggy-esque, especially on its verses — I dare you to listen to Nikki sing the line "I'm gonna make it in this world" without thinking of the Igster, albeit post-Stooges. And the track's delicious chorus features a rousing "ahhhh-ahhhh" backing vocal that's pure pop perfection, even with its classic — and literal — "fuck you!" lyricism. So, yeah, the pop's mighty fine here as well, equaling the punk on display.
"Baby, Let's Rock" is reminiscent of the great B Girls of "Down at the Beach" fame — the late Greg Shaw, the critic and tastemaker who coined the term "power pop" (and who released Nikki & The Corvettes' album as well as the B Girls' 45) would have adored this cut — and better than anything the aforementioned Go-Go's ever committed to tape, vinyl or CD. "Honey, Don't You Know?," meanwhile, would do early Debbie Harry and Blondie proud, complete with a mid-section obvious Shangri-Las spoken word rip that would do Mary Weiss just as proud.
In other words, you'd have to have a heart of stone or be a rock 'n' roll hater and curmudgeon not to enjoy this stuff. To steal an old cliché: It's as much fun as you're likely to have with your clothes on.
Gorevette's local CD release parties are Friday, Jan. 29, at the Park Bar, 2040 Park Ave., Detroit; 313-962-9233; and Saturday, Jan. 30, at Goodnight Gracie, 301 W. Huron St., Ann Arbor; 734-752-5740. Detroit show is with Easy Action; Ann Arbor show is with Silverghost and the United Space League.
Bill Holdship is the music editor of Metro Times Send comments to [email protected].