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Pillbox
Gimme What I Want
(NYC Records)


One of the latest bands to make a stink on the Limey side of the pond is this outfit, Pillbox. Propelled by the force of Susan Hyatt's sultry roc k and roll voice, Pillbox has found themselves compared to early Blondie, The Pixies and even Garbage. I would agree with some of these compariso ns, and would probably add a few to that list. Hyatt also finds herself in the production role for damn near the whole record (either alone or in part.) That's the beauty of Pillbox. You'll find many recognizable inf luences/sounds but what you won't find is a copy of any of them.

I could swear I hear Chrissie Hynde singing at me when "Amsterdam" comes on. The structures are as classic as a Pretenders tune, and her tone is too. It's easy to see how the Pretenders influenced her...but it's not a copy. The influence continues on "Lovesick," although Hyatt turns up th e grit here. Hyatt gets down to the nitty-gritty on "Invasion." Her lyr ical wit comes to light here. Witness the chorus with its "Just cuz you fuck me doesn't mean a thing." Let's hear it for women's lib! To addres s the Debbie Harry/Blondie comparisons, you'll discover the tight and roc king "Don't Call Me Babe." I hear a bit of Elastica in there too (but th ey were influenced by her Deb-ness weren't they?) but this tune is truer to old punk with it's brash, yet less-than-hardcore stance. I had to do a double-take when "You Live Your Life In Third Person" comes on...is tha t Ms. Harry? Nope, but what a classic vocal sound! Turn up the grit and noise for the grinding "Me & My Rhythmbox." This tune oozes sultry deli very and pelvis grinding grooves. Do I smell sex in the room? You get a bit more swing for your buck with "I Must Be Crazy." Her line about "I could show you the world but you'll still want Green Acres" is a hoot. T aking more of a pop mentality, Hyatt and company roll off a tune that sho uld be a hit on both sides of the pond (remember British pop is much diff erent than American pop.) "The Mission" recalls Curve's Toni Halliday in the vocal department with a sultry delivery that is just as tough as it is teasing. The band reaches a dull roar behind her...not quite breaking any noise ordinances, but keeping the thickness fully obvious. You may also notice portions of Toni on sections of "New Year." Overall, though, it has it's own identity and ideas. When that bonus track comes on ("Th ey'll Never Love You") you just may recognize it without realizing it was this band...I did.

Pillbox has provided us with a quite well-rounded listening experience. Its "classic" stance is full without being over-produced. The combinatio n of influences comes off well and without "copying" any of them, but it' s easy to see what Hyatt is into. Hyatt also proves herself as a guitari st, and not just a vocalist to drool over with her powerful progressions and rhythms. The songs are radio friendly without being compromising...t hey don't pander to that teen crowd. Sure, that crowd will like this stu ff, but this is just solid song-smithing. This is a very un-assuming alb um that will ring in your mind for quite some time and have you coming ba ck for more.

-tom topkoff

Track Listing:
1. Me & My Rhythmbox
2. Amsterdam
3. I Must Be Crazy
4. Chronic Jack
5. Girl In The Plastic Bubble
6. Invasion (What Really Turns You On?)
7. The Most
8. Don't Call Me Babe
9. The Mission
10. Lovesick
11. You Live Your Life In Third Person
12. Right Now
13. New Year
14. The Whole World Sings
Bonus Track: They'll Never Love You (live)

 

 

 

 


Mike Doughty



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