London-based guitarist-singer/songwriter Sally Crewe is a bit of a car nut; seven of the 12 tracks on her debut record, Drive It Like You Stole It, make reference to cars and driving; her logo is a car; and on the 12XU website instead of choosing her Top Ten records of the year, she picks her top ten cars of the year. Her music is very much like the cars she admires: tough and streamlined, bursting with power, yet very easy to handle. Crewe has a tough and tender voice perfect for rock & roll, her guitar playing is spot-on, and she writes songs that are lean and wiry like new wave (Wire, the Pretenders) and as catchy as the Modern Lovers or Cheap Trick. A great deal of the power is provided by Crewe's backing band. She had the incredible good fortune to hook up with Britt Daniel and Jim Eno of Spoon. Eno plays his usual rock-solid drums and Daniel is onboard for bass, backing vocals, and co-production (along with Crewe and Eno). The record's production is first-rate throughout -- very sparse yet always interesting, thanks to small sonic details like fuzzed-out background vocals, chirping organs, reverbed pianos, and the occasional kalimba they throw into each track. The opener, "Tonight," instantly grabs you with its tightly strummed chords in the verses that burst into clanging shards for the hooky-as-punch chorus; "Got a Car, Got a Job" is a wonderfully self-referential song with great backup vocals; and "ABC (Waiting for You)" is reminiscent of great power pop like Dwight Twilley or Shoes. Like a tricked-out sports car, the album speeds past very quickly: 12 tracks in 26 glorious minutes. If you play Drive It Like You Stole It back to back with Spoon's Kill the Moonlight, you'll have about as perfect an hour of indie rock as you're going to find anywhere.
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AllMusic Review by Tim Sendra