This L.A. trio is led by the much-traveled, scrumpdelicious singer/bassist Dina Waxman (from Boston?s Lemonheads to NYC?s Emma Peel to L.A.?s Bedroom Walls, et. al.) and guitarist Chris Jacks (ex-Fly) and this is their debut album. Waxman?s powerful, crystal-clear voice propels these bright, power pop splashes with 80s undertones, and tracks like ?Hovercraft? and ?And So? grab you by the ears and don?t let go, and their unforgettable hooks will brighten your head for days. The former, an immediate hit on one of L.A?s premier indie stations (that?s also the current home of ex-Sex Pistols guitarist-turned-DJ, Steve Jones) should be shouted from the back seats of convertibles the world over and is one of my favorite singles of the year, while the latter?s three-chord pop should please the teenyboppers who feel that No Doubt is the height of pop fashion in the 21st century. Jacks? haunting organ riff introduces ?Undermining? and Waxman?s breathy, creaking voice reminds me of some of Bjork?s emotional ruminations.
Waxman takes things down a few notches for the quiet, emotionally wrenching ?Next Time,? and I tried hard to not mention the ?G? word in this review, but Shirley Manson & Co. are such obvious reference points to the short, vaudevillian punk of ?Oh? that I had to at least acknowledge Garbage?s influence. And anyone who?s ever crumbled into emotional jelly upon meeting an ?ex-? will be able to fully identify with ?I Die,? wherein Waxman wears her heart on her sleeve and invites listeners to throw darts at it.
I also loved the bedroom ambience of the Janis Ian-ish ?Mercy River? and ?Seals,? which will lose their intimacy in a stadium setting, but will melt hearts eight rows deep at your local coffee house, although attempts to mine the quirky industrial, electronic side of Nine Inch Nails and fellow L.A. band, 8mm on ?Glide? are less successful. While efforts to make a varied album to introduce listeners to your many musical tastes and influences are commendable, too many styles only end up disorienting the listener in the long run, and this band?s strengths clearly lie in Dina Waxman belting out chunky pop rockers. Overall, a very promising debut from a band that needs to focus more clearly on their rock side and leave the torchy ballads to others. 6/10 -- Jeff Penczak (19 September, 2005)