Super Wild Horses

Fifteen

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This Melbourne, Australia-based female duo plays a hard-hitting brand of punk-pop. The gals -- Amy Franz and Hayley McKee -- switch off between guitar and drum kit and have an energetic approach that more than makes up for the recording's sonic limitations. It was recorded in a couple of days on analog tape to capture all the rawness of the band's live sound. In fact, the dicey sound is part of the band's charm, the sonic equivalent of dropping into a band's garage to catch Super Wild Horses in a creative frenzy, tossing all caution to the wind. The Horses have been playing together for 15 years, since they first turned 15, hence the record's title. The album clocks in at a brief 26 minutes, with each song a perfect little two-minute blast of energy. Think Ramones meets Bikini Kill, with lyrics leaning toward a serious female-centric view of the latter without sacrificing the simplicity of the former. "Lock and Key" opens with a killer guitar hook, a simple, propulsive backbeat, and vocals that are all attitude. The Horses use a bit of the Velvet Underground's dark, noisy minimalism to portray the splintering of a summer romance on the downcast "Stranger by the Day," and the sinister "I Want You" is the song of a seductress trying to win a boy away from his current squeeze. On the brighter side you get "Adrian," a minute-and-a-half blast of giddy infatuation, and "Love" which sounds like surf music as it might have been played by Joy Division. "Mess Around" is a kiss-off to a straying boyfriend; it's a jubilant romp with another perfect hook. The two-minute pop tune is a hard form to master, but on Fifteen, Super Wild Horses make it look easy. They have a promising career ahead of them.

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