Repeat after me: "Riot Grrrl is dead." I say this because
it is necessary to cleanse the palette before hearing Kerry
Davis' band The Two Tears. I read a review on Pitchfork
once in which the female author had received an undue dosage of
scorn and censure from her feminist studies course for suggesting
that Riot Grrrls had it easy. The premise was based on the idea
that Riot Grrrls had lowered expectations placed on them since
they were trying to rock-n-roll like the big boys, and therefore
needed to be accorded the equivalent of a golfer's handicap. I
think there was a bit of merit in this argument in that there
were certainly a number of female bands getting attention they
didn't otherwise deserve. However, if there is a flaw in the argument,
it's that millions of people also bought Candlebox records.
Um, and Creed records. While we're at it let's not forget
3 Doors Down; all bands that suck mightily, and sold lots
of records because Clear Channel (or whatever empire existed during
Candlebox's lamentable popularity) told everyone to.
So forget about all the Riot Grrrl bollocks. It's over.
Enjoy Yourself is a collection of stripped-down rock tunes
that feature no-frills electric guitar strumming, simple bass
lines and straight-forward, yet deceptively complex drumming.
The basic foundation is as plain as can be: a statement that we're
not going to try and trick you with effects and gadgets, walls
of sound, guitar pedals, synthesizers or anything else.
Where this band takes its ostentatious turn of precocity is in
its songwriting. Here, they use every trick in the book, or at
least as many as they can fit into ten tracks. Vocals as instruments
and sound effects, staccato rhythms, timing changes, starts and
stops, etc. They also manage to show the breadth of their influences
by injecting riffs and pieces of melodies from prior greats (offhand,
Sonic Youth and the Breeders) while making it sound
like they made it up themselves. Kerry is clearly the one in the
spotlight here, but her bandmates provide just enough backing
to flesh out her songs so that there's no mistaking who this band
is really all about. (She did after all, write all of the songs)
The Two Tears don't really fall into the Riot Grrrl genre, but
the label still tends to pollute people's perceptions of female
rockers. If anything, they remind me of the White Stripes
in their approach to making music with indie-alternative-before-it-was-grunge
rock rather than a blues foundation.
This is definitely a CD worth owning with "Too Late",
a song in which the changes of puberty are musically equated
with a cheesy werewolf flick (replete with howls and hisses!)
being worth the cost alone.
1. The Weight
2. Wiggle Like a Worm
3. Pick Me Up
4. Too Late
5. To Love a Bargain
6. Morris the Code
7. Ghost Train
8. Shit Fucking Job
9. The Storm
10. How Long Do I Have To Be The Light In Your Dark World?
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