Catholic Girls

Summer Vacation/Rock'n America

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Only the third Catholic Girls release in over 22 years, the Summer Vacation/Rock'n America EP is unfortunately brief (barely 15 minutes), but it shows that the Catholic Girls are just as vital as they were in their early-'80s heyday, even if the cover photos make them look more like hip soccer moms than the proto-Madonna hotties who graced their 1982 debut album. "Summer Vacation" in particular is a small masterwork, the finest song that singer/songwriter Gail Petersen has yet recorded. It's reminiscent of the retro-girl group new wave pop of early-'80s southern California (Bangles, Bonnie Hayes, and of course the Go-Go's), but with a more modern indie pop sensibility that keeps it from sounding like a pastiche of a pastiche. The Ramones homage "Rock'n America" is only slightly less successful, but the EP's real treat for Catholic Girls fans is the lengthy and wide-ranging DVD-style commentary track, on which Petersen and the rest of the band recount their history and influences in a series of amusing anecdotes. It's mostly for fans, of course, but it's a nice addition to an already solid EP.

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