There are only so many women who can growl like Kim Shattuck (Kim Warnick of the Fastbacks and Visqueen is one of the few others). On the strength of Funtown, L.A. trio the Beards is a worthy successor to singer/guitarist Shattuck's previous band, the Muffs. The growl is still there, along with singer/bassist Lisa Marr's more pronounced pop sensibility; the group is rounded out by drummer Sherri Solinger. If the Donnas were a little older they might sound like this, which is to say the Beards also seem to have taken their cues from pop-punk progenitors Blondie, Joan Jett, and the Breeders. But there are a few slower (growl-free) numbers, too, like "Sidewalks" (with harpsichord from Gere Fennelly) and "Her Flowers," which trade in the punk for a little 1960s-style folk-pop and girl group pop. A notable debut. Produced by Jeff McDonald of Redd Kross, who plays guitar on "This Girl."
by Kathleen C. Fennessy