Thee Headcoatees

Punk Girls

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The title is meant to be taken literally. On Punk Girls, Thee Headcoatees -- with more than a little help from male alter egos Thee Headcoats -- stomp, shout, and work it on out through 12 short, punky rockers in their distinctively appealing lo-fi, high-attitude style. The end result sounds more late '70s than late '90s as they channel such early femme-punkers as Switzerland's Liliput and fellow Brits X-Ray Spex. Covers of punk nuggets by the likes of the Undertones ("Teenage Kicks") and the Ramones ("Pinhead") mingle comfortably with originals by mentor and head Coat Billy Childish -- who even pens a number about himself ("Billy B. Childish") -- that are in the same snotty spirit. It helps that he steals from the best. The title track, "Punk Girl," for instance, is basically the Damned's "Stab Your Back" (and the same goes for "Punk Boy") with different lyrics and "Don't Wanna Hold Your Hand" is -- that's right, you guessed it -- the Beatles' "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" in all but name. And why not? When a recording is as energetic and high-spirited as this one, it's hard to give a toss whether the band is breaking any new ground or not (they aren't). If Punk Girls has a more egregious fault, it's simply that at 28 minutes and eight seconds, it's too short. But it sure is fun while it lasts.

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