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The Trucks
The Trucks
Clickpop Records

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.

-Jake McCarthy

Track Listing:
1. Introduction
2. Titties
3. Zombie
4. Shattered
5. Messages
6. Old Bikes
7. Man Voice
8. Comeback
9. 3 A.M.
10. Big Afros
11. March 1st
12. Diddle-Bot
13. Why The?

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