Morningwood [EP]

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From Alanis Morissette to Creed and Live, so much of the alternative rock that has come out in the '90s and 2000s has been extremely serious-minded and introspective. Wild, hedonistic, decadent fun didn't disappear from rock altogether after the Nirvana/Pearl Jam/grunge upheaval of the early '90s, but it hasn't been as prevalent as it was back in the '60s, '70s, and '80s. One 2000 group who don't go the ultra-introspective route is Morningwood, whose self-titled debut EP epitomizes the more lighthearted, pleasure-loving side of alternative pop/rock. Different comparisons come to mind when this disc is playing -- sometimes the Pretenders, the Divinyls or Joan Jett, sometimes Garbage or Veruca Salt. But that isn't to say that Morningwood is actually emulating any of those artists. This New York City band projects an attractive identity of its own -- one that is gritty and aggressive, yet poppy and melodic, one that shows a commitment to hooky infectiousness and owes something to hard rock as well as punk and new wave. Morningwood brings an inviting sense of trashy, sexy fun to memorable tunes like "New York Girls," "Jetsettermusicletter," and "Take Off Your Clothes," all of which are well served by Chantal Claret's vibrant, colorful lead vocals. Of course, it's easier to be consistent and show a lot of promise on an EP than it is on a full-length album -- it's the difference between holding the listener's attention for 15 or 20 minutes, and holding it for an hour or more. Nonetheless, this is a highly promising debut that brings a much-needed sense of pleasure to the alternative rock field.

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