Morningwood

Morningwood

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On their early EPs Morningwood only suggested the Pixies, since the songs were too anemic and trashy to really hit like that band's best material. It's a different story with the quartet's Capitol debut, where longtime Pixies producer Gil Norton amplifies the basslines and coed vocal dynamics in re-recorded versions of early MW tracks like "Take off Your Clothes" and "New York Girls." (The early "Jetsettermusicletter" is trimmed down to "Jetsetter" here, but still plays off of "Wave of Mutilation.") Norton gives the songs oomph, no doubt. But the fuller sound doesn't hide the sense that Morningwood is writing sexy catch phrases around rhythms that have been heard before. Vocalist Chantal Claret has a lot of sass, but while there are strains of the Gossip's Beth Ditto in her delivery, there's a haughtiness to everything Claret sings that sounds way too affected, like the too-perfect rumples in the togs of the scene-makers at any of New York City's hipster convergences. "Televisor" and "Babysitter" have their kicky buzz built in, and the bright synth-punk of "Nth Degree" is a promising departure. But Morningwood still feels like calculated fluff, even if it's calculated fluff that's mildly fun.

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