Bomshel

Fight Like a Girl

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Contemporary country duo Bomshel issue Fight Like a Girl, their debut album, three years after their Curb licensed EP Bomshel Stomp on their own label. The duo of Kristy Osmunson and Kelley Shepard created a buzz on country radio earlier in the year with the single "Fight Like a Girl," written by the pair with Bob Regen, which has become an anthem -- especially for young women -- of empowerment. That track is here, as are the barroom dancehall stomper "Karma Is a Female Dog," and the anthemic "19 and Crazy." The truth: the pair is talented beyond belief almost. They can write and sing and have the looks that breed success in an industry that takes the cake for its artificiality and shallowness. Their songs were all co-written with Nash Vegas professionals. The production is pure '80s hair rock with Shepard's fiddle added in all the "right" spots" ( it sounds like a bad imitation of Lisa Germano's on John Mellencamp's best records); big, but digitally muffled kick drums, trebly snares. compressed triple- and quadruple-tracked guitars, and almost non-existent basslines. The duo's signature vocal harmonies have been deck punched to a "perfection" that is lifeless, and carry not a trace of individual nuance. Even the lead vocals have been smoothed over to sound like the pair are nearly identical twins. Co-produced by Osmunson (who one can assume wanted this album to reflect the dynamic nature of their life shows) with Mark Irwin and Josh Kear, the sound is flawless -- if you like sheeny, flat surfaces with lots of high end and no middle or low -- and feels more like it was recorded by machines than by people. In many ways, while the songs this pair have written have real heart, and are far from the clich├ęd crap that comes out of Music City in 2009, they made a deal with the devil and the devil got his in the final product. Of the 11 songs here, there are nine solidly written ones, a good one, and a throwaway; but the end result makes the whole album melt into one long blur of bland; it feels "new and different" for the first two minutes of "19 and Crazy," the set's opening track.Fight Like a Girl may well do in terms of CD and download sales, but that doesn't make it a memorable recording. If it does do well, used CD shops and Salvation Army stores will be full of them a year from now.

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