For the Greater Good

“Have you ever been cheated?” asks For the Greater Good. “Been lied to?” The four ladies in the Moto-litas have. They’ve also been tattled on, mistreated and condescended to. Then they wrote surf ’n’ turf songs about it — nine of ’em to be exact — and our music collections are better places for it.

What with pop’s overpopulation of garage rockers using the verse-chorus-verse to rant ’n’ roll, however, the Atlanta-based band’s first full-length distinguishes itself by making romantic frustration sound more invigorating and fun than it probably should. While yelping out done-wrong songs, these women manage to incorporate just about everything that makes those Girls in the Garage compilations so superb: Toe taps! Hand claps! Hiccuped harmonies! Beach-blanket-bingo beats! Girl-group camaraderie! It’s the sort of retro-ruckus that Annette Funicello would’ve made had she drowned Frankie Avalon on the set of Bikini Beach, then picked up a guitar and cranked out a no-apologies surf-rock song about the whole thing.

Quite simply, For the Greater Good is an impressive and refreshing debut that’s liberated (not limited) by the Moto-litas’ countless run-ins with liars and losers. Refusing to fight liar with liar, the foursome turns the other cheek and churns out a wholly enjoyable — albeit not wholly original — stomp ’n’ shimmy recalling that of a backwater-born baby of the Go-Gos and Dick Dale. And sure, a few songs occasionally rock and roll right by before fully distinguishing themselves from the others, but there’s still not a single dud on the entire album — quite a feat for a band that’s barely two years old.

So while no one deserves to be cheated and mistreated, let’s just hope — given the fantastic beach-boogie garage rock of their debut — that the Moto-litas are far from throwing in the towel.

E-mail Jimmy Draper at [email protected].

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