by Fred Mills
Peruse the many positive reviews this Motor City femme foursome has accumulated for its previous two platters and you’ll likely encounter a predominance of terms such as “innocent,” “naive,” “ethereal,” “mesmerizing,” “tenderly woozy,” “sweet intoxicating brew” and “lazy, hazy, day-trippin’ Sunday.” Christ. Has every critic died and gone to twee heaven? Granted, growing up in public’s no picnic, and both Slumber Party and Psychedelicate had their gentle moments. But dig a bit below the surface and scrounge around for some of this band’s deep roots and I guarantee you’ll unearth some pretty classic rock ’n’ roll influences.
As produced by Godzuki’s Dion Fischer, Slumber Party — Aliccia Berg, Gretchen Gonzales, Leigh Sabo, Julie Benjamin — evoke a musical out-of-time-ness whereby the gum-snapping girl-group sound of the ’60s gets filtered through churning, chugging psychedelia. The fuzztoned choogle of “No Sleep Tonight,” for example, sounds like the Angels backed up by the Velvet Underground, while the zig-zaggy riffs of both “Your Friends” and “Air” bring to mind vintage Galaxie 500 and Yo La Tengo pop-psych. And, my God, the gospel-drone of “On-T.V.” is straight outta Spacemen 3 territory — “woozy,” sure, an “intoxicating brew,” yup, but c’mon — when you invoke S3, you’re talking hard dope intake, not chamomile tea! Elsewhere on this wonderful rec are moments alternately bluesy (“Black Heart Road”), electropoppy/New Wavey (“New Trouble”) and baroque (“Drunk”), all graced by some of the most heavenly vocal harmonies this side of the Beach Boys, er, Girls, er … you get the idea. Twee, schmee — these gals kick ass, period.
E-mail Fred Mills at firstname.lastname@example.org.