The Trucks' record really shouldn't be very good. Despite
attempts to shock, the lyrics are pedestrian, the musicianship
is offensively bad and for some reason they've left the best singles
without choruses. Confoundingly, though, all of the things these
four women from Washington state have done wrong are smartly outweighed
by the head-bobbingly unique electro-pop they've thrown down for
their debut album.
There's a debt owed to bands like CSS and Peaches
here - that's clear on "Titties," a brash discussion
of sexual politics that starts out with chugging drums before
The Trucks' signature wall of synthesizer sound crashes onto the
scene. Like many of the songs on The Trucks, "Titties"
employs a the repetitive chant for a chorus- "What makes
you think we can fuck just because you put your tongue in my mouth
and you twisted my titties baby?" It's easy to chalk "Titties,"
"3am," or "Man Voice" up to gender role reversal
empowerment, but that schtick was more shocking when Liz Phair
did it on Exile in Guyville. What makes The Trucks' songs
remarkable isn't so much that they call the world out for its
gender biases, but that they package the fact simply as an observation
wrapped in deliciously danceable pop. The Trucks aren't blind
to the issues, they're just too busy dancing to get angry about
things they can't change.
When The Trucks stop trying to be edgy, such as on "Messages,"
the results still command attention. Singing above seemingly authentic
messages from potential lovers Kristin Marie-Zito says
she saves her voice mails and laments, "you only reach out
on my machine / is it easier surrounded by beeps / beep I love
you / beep." The songs transcends the petulant-brat trappings
of "Titties" and offers a real level of sophistication
to The Trucks' character. It's a move arena rockers have always
tried to effect with the power ballad, but when The Trucks get
serious they bring a sincerity others have lacked.
Unfortunately, that level of sophistication isn't evident on
all the songs. Tracks like the ode-to-auto-erotica "Diddle-Bot"
are too uninspired to deserve a place on the same record as "Comeback."
The latter is one of the few efforts The Trucks make to craft
a real verse-verse-chorus song, and it works wonderfully. The
beautifully melodic vocals are adorned with a lullaby xylophone
and euphonically euro chorus and supported by a rhythm section
that is surprisingly responsible and conservative.
While The Trucks is a curious name for a band of four female
electro-pop practictioners, they take full advantage, filling
The Trucks with vehicular metaphor. "Driving my mack,
3am, burned some rubber when I saw him / boy in a dress, in distress
that's the kind of boy that makes me arrest," they moan on
"3am" before an apex of simulated pleasure Gloria
Gaynor should get royalties for. Some may find such word play
hokey, but the truth is The Trucks are never as good as when they
play the traditional masculinity of pickups and semis against
the modern femininity of sliding through some aggressive petting
and stopping short, just shy of third base.
6. Old Bikes
7. Man Voice
9. 3 A.M.
10. Big Afros
11. March 1st
13. Why The?
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