VATICANS, THE: Guardia Svizzera Pontifica: CD

Those expecting some sorta continuation of the loud, trashy legacy of the Fingers, Rip Offs, Infections, et al., are going to be sorely disappointed, ‘cause, sonically, this is in a whole other ballpark. While still spare in instrumentation, and occasional flashes of that raucous legacy sometimes pop up, the bulk of this is geared solely toward the pop side of the fence, with clean channel guitars, mid-tempo rhythms and female vocals more Penelope Houston than Alice Bag. Those who appreciate substance over style, however, will find much to like here. The tunes are well crafted and very catchy, knowing yet tempered with a subtlety and grace not usually expected from a buncha punks. Looks like Shane finally hit on the right combination of collaborators to realize his dream of creating a pure pop band a la the Raspberries. Kudos to ye, mate, ‘cause it’s a fuggin’ great band. Considering I made my bones as a Pure Filth staffer, which means I learned to calls ‘em as I see ‘em without mincing words, lord knows I don’t throw praise around like that lightly, no matter who it is.

 –jimmy (Pure Filth)