Marine Girls

Beach Party

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AllMusic Review by

The debut album by the Marine Girls is one of the most willfully amateurish releases of its era, which is not necessarily a bad thing. When it was first released on Daniel Treacy's Whaam! label in 1981, it undoubtedly sounded impossibly shoddy and nearly inept, filled with deliberately out-of-tune vocals, extremely minimal guitar and bass, and almost no percussion. However, its place as one of the pillars of the twee pop scene, along with the Young Marble Giants' Colossal Youth, is now incontestable, and what once might have seemed haphazard instead sounds refreshingly artless and slyly provocative. Tracey Thorn, whose vocals would gain much more technical polish during her years in Everything But the Girl, sings with a sort of offhand grace, while Alice Fox' more tuneless yelp sounds like a precursor to Kathleen Hanna or Sleater-Kinney. The songs are monochromatic, though a few, particularly the opening "In Love," manage to marry memorable tunes to the group's deliberate minimalism. This is not an album for anyone who requires a lot of studio polish, but Beach Party is far from the grating tunelessness that some early reviewers labeled it.

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