Guns Babes Lemonade

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It is assumed that jocks could live from a musical diet of "Who Let the Dogs Out?" and "Song 2" running in a constant loop, but just like any indie hipster wearing a Blondie t-shirt and thick-rimmed spectacles or the encyclopedic music nerd playing a carefully assembled DJ set of songs only he's heard of, even broad-shouldered frat boys need a deep and compelling soundtrack to their lives: for nights of chugging Keystone, afternoons at rugby practice, or mornings trying to get stains out of letterman jackets. Enter Muscles' debut, Guns Babes Lemonade, which is equally appropriate to be played after a touchdown dance as it is a dimly lit club filled with techno snobs.

Naturally it required a young Australian -- where the social hierarchy of nerds and jocks doesn't seem as pronounced to an outsiders' eyes -- to create an overflowing, irresistibly bouncy electronic record with juvenile, overdubbed shout-vocals about sex and sustenance. "Ice cream is going to save the day," Muscles passionately repeats on "Ice Cream," and perhaps it shows his great mediator skills by selecting such an innocuous subject anyone could agree with, but his power of conviction over layers of vocals (his lead vocals, overdubbed falsettos providing harmonies, and a few random "aws" and "oohs" in the background) is what transforms these seemingly infantile ideas to a series of simplistic, zen-like musical epiphanies. "My Friend Richard's" lyrics sound more like a to-do list written by a six-year old, but is carried by a sinister synth loop and propelled an eager likability. "Letters from Glebe" has an army of overdubbed Muscles' singing in unison and in wild tangents. His knack for overlapping his own vocals not only hides his meagre singing voice, but it reinforces the vocals in a way few electronic musicians choose to do. The real triumph of Guns Babes Lemonade is "Sweaty," an orgiastic call to arms for anyone and everyone to simultaneously hit the dancefloor. The unfettered confidence by which Muscles approaches the object of his affection -- literally telling her how awesome and special holding her hand is -- seems so obvious and credible coming from the Aussie who permeates the good-natured attitude you've almost come to expect from the Land Down Under. Even more startling is the background repetition of "peace, love, ecstasy, unity, respect," showing how Muscles, underneath his sweat-drenched skin and self-delusional bravado, is really just trying to make dance music as accessible as possible. Who knew a jock would be the first to extend the olive branch to the segmented subgenres of modern dance music? Andrew W.K.-meets-dance music is perhaps the best way to describe the unabashed puppy dog-like positivity behind the message, although Guns Babes Lemonade shows Muscles is already adept at providing a complete, deep dance record.

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