Me First and the Gimme Gimmes

Take a Break

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Two years after punkifying some of the '60s' more popular songs for Blow in the Wind, Me First and the Gimme Gimmes return with Take a Break, their stab at some of R&B's classier, yet almost forgettable, tunes. The So-Cal five-piece is as rowdy as ever and their own punk rock polish is undeniably infectious. What made Blow in the Wind so great is exactly what makes Take a Break even cooler. It's straightforward rock & roll without the swagger -- tomfoolery without being lame -- and Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are clever in giving new life to some of these tracks. Whereas Lionel Richie's "Hello" and Prince's "Nothing Compares 2 U" banked success with their heavy-hearted tones, the Gimme Gimmes spike that mood for a punchy, feel-good time. A more electric, rough-edged alternative of Seal's "Crazy" is equally fashionable and slick to the original version. Add a bit of quick wit and pinch-hitting percussion, and the energy of Take a Break is more than enough to impress the new millennium punk kids. If not, the band's pouncing ukelele dance of R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" will do it. Me First and the Gimme Gimmes do rock & roll the right way because they don't try too hard. Take a Break once again showcases why they rock in the first place.

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