The Chevelles

Barbarella Girl God

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Australian garage pop band the Chevelles have been enthralling their native Australia (and shores beyond) since they first burst onto the scene back in the early '90s. Five albums on and Wicked Cool Records have now scooped the group up, with Little Steven personally trawling through the band's back catalog to create this awesome compilation. The Chevelles are at their best on Barbarella Girl God, with the set bundling up 14 of their most contagious numbers along with a trio of new songs as proof positive that they've lost none of their magic over the years. What really impresses about this album, though, is how well the band's wide-ranging sound and style are showcased. Garage pop is an easy tag for their music, but doesn't really capture the diversity of influences and elements that infuse their songs. In fact, here the Chevelles provide a pocket history of pop in all its glory. For their steaming cover of the Yardbirds' "For Your Love," they travel all the way back to rockabilly. "Deceiving," wailing harmonica to the fore, dips deep into the blues, one of a clutch of catchy British Invasion-styled numbers that also include the Beatlesque beauty of "Come Back to Me." In contrast, "Goodbye Sally" crosses the pond to capture the sounds emanating from California in the same period. Storming into hard rock with a Stooges bent, the Chevelles attempt to woo "Angelina Jolie," then blast off on a rocking rocket to visit "Barbarella" in outer space. They split the difference between garage rock and punk on two other new numbers -- the strutting "Get It On" and the singalong "Stacy Loves Cocaine," the latter with such a N.Y.C. circa 1977 flavor that you can almost taste the (big) apple. From old-school to new-school punk, the band dances back and forth in time, tripping into new wave, psychedelia, and power pop along the way. The sound may be clean, a reflection of the Chevelles' tightness, but even at their jangliest, the guitars are down and dirty, the harmonies soaring, the melodies irrepressible, and the choruses irresistible. All in all, the perfect introduction to this stellar band.

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