The Fondas

Runaway Bombshell

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The Fondas earn credit just for riding out the Detroit wave and actually releasing a second record. They earn even more credit by making it an improvement over their debut. Put it down to a more focused sound, tougher performances, and more reliance on original compositions. The first record was made up mostly of covers that fared badly in comparison to the originals; this time out, guitarist, vocalist, and longtime Detroit garage rock enthusiast Mark Niemenski wrote most of the tunes (and picked more obscure and interesting songs to cover). While they don't stray far from garage rock conventions, they are energetic and hooky. The midtempo ballads like "Little Bit" and "Say You're Sorry" are especially successful, as they allow vocalist Julie Benjamin some room to relax. She also does a fine job on the juke joint blues-inspired "Tell Me Lovesick Blues." Where she has some trouble is on the uptempo rockers. She just doesn't have a limber enough voice to keep up convincingly and ends up sounding a bit forced. Not bad, just not great. Either Niemenski realized this and wrote a batch of songs to suit her voice or it is just a lucky coincidence. Either way, the end result is that Runaway Bombshell is a much more enjoyable record than Coming Now!

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