Betty Already


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Amerimaniacs is supercharged and snotty, tongue in cheek, and aggressive -- in other words, fairly typical punk-pop. When you turn it up loud, it is impudent fun, complete with herky-jerky song structures and crashing dynamics that will instantly make you wish you were a teenager again with the world by the jewels. Or, if you are a teenager, it might inspire an itch for breaking windows or something, maybe going to the mall to make fun of people. That said, this kind of thing has been done before ad infinitum, not to mention better. The melodies tend to blend together the farther you delve into the album, and without the benefit of novelty, the music doesn't hold quite the allure that it might have if ten or 20 years were chopped off the release date. Betty Already does score points for sporting the nifty, new wavy coed vocals of Mizkitty and Scott, which come off like a less arty (and, frankly, less satisfying) variation on John Doe and Exene Cervenka. And the band does take on certain political and social issues (television, guns -- American culture, in general, really), although the band tends to reduce its arguments to mere sloganeering ("Nightly news has the best lies"). And, anyway, Amerimaniacs is at its best when the band keeps the proceedings primitive, as on infectious nuggets like "Feed Me Cake" and "H-Bomb." But if you're feeling the urge to smash things (vicariously, of course), this may be just the thing to get you juiced up. [A little historical note, asked the band to do a video for "Vampire of the Sun," which they debuted for their 1.1 million subscribers in May 2001, making it the very first interactive, animated pop video ever.]

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