Toothpaste 2000


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The pure pop for now (and then) people of Toothpaste 2000 seems to take a minimalist turn with Bachelorette. The opener, "Baby, Let's Rock!," is so tightly compressed, it's almost as reductionist as the Ramones. From there, however, they spring back to their usual selves, sometimes adding more colors (as when "Miss Marcy Brown" brings in digitized keyboard horns to great effect) to the guitar-bass-drums format that's been their staple. As usual, Frank Bednash's songs rock more, like the excellent "Jimmy," while guitarist Donna Esposito keeps a sensual slinkiness to her material, as on the slightly wistful title tack. That they know how to write strong pop songs is beyond question -- they've been doing it for a long time, and some of the tracks here are among the best they've written. What hurts this disc more than anything is the production, which leaves quite a bit to be desired. Esposito's vocals sometimes vanish into the mix -- which can be quite muddy -- and the crispness that would give their music an extra kick is missing, doing them no favors at all. It would be nice to hear these songs re-recorded in a better studio (and perhaps with a better budget). Until then, Bachelorette is great pop, but needs a fairer presentation.

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