Operation Makeout

Hang Loose

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First things first: On Hang Loose, Operation Makeout still sounds a hell of a lot like Sleater-Kinney. But the record nevertheless heralds an advance over their debut EP, First Base, in part because the songs are more taut and memorable this time out, but mostly because Katie's piercing vibrato is countered by bassist Jesse's newly prominent vocal snarl, an interesting boy-girl dynamic which not only alters the band's sound but also sheds new light on the sexual politics at the heart of their lyrical outlook. The original is still the greatest, as Dobie Gray would say, but as Operation Makeout sheds their more overt Sleater-Kinney influences, here's hoping they learn to make the kind of gripping, incendiary music that inspires imitators of their own. Hang Loose is a step in that direction.

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