The Soviettes


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The Soviettes aren't doing anything that different on their Fat Wreck debut than the irascible Minneapolis fuzz punks did on their two previous records for Adeline. But what the hell is wrong with that? III is another high-tension wire good time, a ballsy spitfire that rolls tall between Sex Pistols vocals, Pacific Northwest swagger, and the vestiges of early new wave, when the after-hours photographs were still in black and white. There are more melodies on III, from "¡Paranoia Cha Cha Cha!" and the modified/accelerated Pat Benatar strut of "Middle of the Night" to "Roller Girls," the rowdy tribute to the Minnesota Roller Girls' roller derby league. And it's the Soviettes' best-performed record yet, with their four-way harmonies piling on top of one another in new and exciting ways. "[Do] the Stagger" is some kind of hyper party jam -- the herky-jerky guitar equivalent of a shotgunned can of Grain Belt beer -- and the couplets of "Hanging Up the Phone"'s chorus end with great "woah-oh-o"'s. The Soviettes are great at "woah-oh-o"'s. And they prove it, with a minute-and-eleven-seconds of song called. . ."Woah." III's very immediacy hurts it a little -- the whizzy keyboard solo on "What Did I Do?!" and "Gotta Decide"'s urgent mid-tempo count as variety points. But you can ignore the record's mild sameness because it's confident, well-played, and full of salacious wit. It's pop-punk built for Twister parties and adult fun, so take your skateboard and go home, junior.

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