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The Two Tears
Enjoy Yourself
Bent Rail Foundation
www.bentrail.com


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.

-JD

Track Listing:
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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Mike Doughty



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