Shannon & the Clams

I Wanna Go Home

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This is one of those bands that is almost certainly better live than in the studio -- in part because when they play live they probably don't sound as if they're trying simultaneously to channel the Ronettes and the Ramones through a half-broken cassette recorder. It's not that channeling the Ronettes and the Ramones simultaneously is a bad idea -- the Dollyrots have been doing that brilliantly for a decade now. What's a bad idea is mistaking ultra-lo-fi recording as the end rather than the means to an end. I Wanna Go Home opens with "Troublemaker," an incredibly trashy-sounding slab of 1960s garage punk/girl group fusion. Then comes "The Warlock in the Woods," which, unbelievably, sounds even trashier, as if it were recorded on a half-broken cassette recorder through a tin can. On "You Can Come Over" the rawness works better -- Shannon Shaw's lyrics are primal and desperate, and the music reflects them perfectly; there's a similarly felicitous balance in evidence on "Blast Me to Bermuda," which sounds like the B-52's after a particularly hard night of drinking and brawling. Both "Waiting for You" and "Take It Back" would also have worked pretty well if it weren't for Shaw's painfully out-of-tune singing. This all adds up to an album that's interesting to listen to once, but not more than that.

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