…this two-piece band OH MY GOD, A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! IN THIS DAY AND AGE!!! STOP THE PRESSES!!! ALERT THE MEDIA!!! GRAB THE KIDS AND PHONE THE NEIGHBORS!!! SLAP ME SILLY AND SHOOT THE HORSE!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND, I SAY!!! …er, yes, where was i…right. Okay. This two-piece band on Sympathy For The Record Industry OH MY GOD, A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! GREAT DAY IN THE MORNING!!! GREAT CAESAR’S GHOST!!! HOLY FOR CRYIN’ OUT LOUD, FOLKS!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYTHING LIKE IT BEFORE IN ALL MY YEARS ON THE FORCE!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! WHO AMONG US SAW THIS COMING??? OUR WORLD WILL BE FOREVER CHANGED!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! A TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY!!! (helicopter noises: WUPPAWUPPAWUPPAWUPPA…) ANNOUNCER: We break into this regularly scheduled record review for a special eye-in-the-sky report on rumors of a two-piece band having been signed to Sympathy For The Record Industry. In the Razorcake news chopper now hovering above Ghetto Recorders in Detroit, here’s special eye-in-the-sky correspondent Ernie Harwell. Ernie? ERNIE HARWELL: Well-a… i-a haven’t seen-a panic and chaos-a like this-a since Phil-a Garner was-a skipper, and these reports-a of a two-piece band-a having recorded here-a, as-a fantastic-a as they sound-a, are turning out-a to be absolutely true-a (WUPPAWUPPAWUPPAWUPPA) …we’re going down now-a for a closer look-a. ANNOUNCER: You be careful, Ernie. All right, we’re going back to regular programming at this time, bulletins immediately as events warrant. (short burst of static)…well, anyway, like i was saying, NOT ONLY is this a two-piece band (A TWO-PIECE BAND!!! OH MY GOD!!!), BUT IT IS ALSO a two-piece band composed of two GIRLS FROM BOSTON, that is to say, TWO FORCES CAPABLE OF THE GREATEST EVILS KNOWN TO MANKIND UNITED AS ONE! A two-piece band AND Boston girls!!! Sheesh! No wonder Ernie Harwell’s got his grundies in a bundle! Anyway, these Women In Rock play levee blues in the time-honored “Mississippi Alpha Delta Pi” style (it’s a sorority joke. i even remember some of the songs. Ply me with alcohol and i’ll even sing a few); every song kinda sounds like “Smokestack Lightning,” but none of them are. In a few spots – primarily the covers (Howlin’ Wolf, et al) – the (admittedly great, or at least as-far-as-i-can-tell great) open tuned blues gee-tar riffs coupled with the wholly unexpected physiological sonic inversion whammy that occurs when Black Dude vocals are replaced with White Chick vocals completely tips the ethereal soul mojo of the source material on its head, and flings it back in the other direction, no worse for wear, just different. On the originals, things just kinda meander to far less effect… all of which, of course, brings up an interesting point: Since the covers they do work a lot better than the originals (i don’t know why, i don’t care to speculate, and i’m not really qualified to write about the blues anyway), and since the arena they operate in has never really put much of a premium on originality anyway, why not invert the traditional indie-output balance and have like 75% covers and a handful of top-flight originals? (i’d actually like to see these ladies do an entire album full of Howlin’ Wolf covers… ‘course, some of the lines and titles might have to be modified to accommodate the gender switch, so, based on prior dealings with girls from Boston, there’d be lines like “When de nail polish fill de air/there’ll be Hello Kitty? everywhere” from “Neither-Of-Us-Has-a-Wang Dang Doodle,” “I eats mo’ yogurt than any girl seen” from “(Hey! Get Away from There, You Would-Be) Back Door Man,” “I did not SAY I was a millionaire… I said I have CHARGED more than a millionaire” from “Going Down Rarely,” and, of course, the self-explanatory “I Asked for (Bottled) Water”) (and NO, it’s NOT that i’m not giving them a chance because they’re GIRLS, it’s that i’m not giving them a chance because they’re a TWO-PIECE BAND ON SYMPATHY! What the fuck is so wrong with THAT?) Actually, the really scary thing about this record is that if i’m not really paying attention to it it kinda sounds like Jefferson Airplane’s Surrealistic Pillow album. Eek. BEST SONG TITLE: “Commit a Crime” BEST SONG: “Moanin'” AMAZING FANTASTIC TRIVIA FACT: They’re a two-piece band on Sympathy!!!
–norb (Sympathy )