The Donnas

Spend the Night

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Fuller and more thought-out than their previous releases, the Donnas' Spend the Night furthers the band's evolution from their "what if the Ramones were chicks" vibe into a really cohesive hard rock band. The straightforward lyrics still revolve around "Tonight we're gonna party," "Let's get high in the backseat of my car," and "I'm gonna steal you away from your girl," but using these tried-and-true rock & roll themes with the Donnas' equally simple song structures, their sound and message achieve a kind of rock purity that seems miles away from all of the Britneys and Christina Aguileras out there. Their allegiance to the sound of simplistic party rock bands that were around in the late '70s/early '80s (Kiss, Cheap Trick, Mötley Crüe) joins forces with the snarl of the tough girl groups of that same era (Blondie, the Pretenders, Joan Jett) in a way that hasn't been heard on a major label in at least a decade. Special recognition deserves to go to guitarist Donna R./Allison Robertson whose Ace Frehley fascination used to be cute and now sounds as though it has erupted into a full-blown obsession, but somehow she still manages to put a heavier Southern rock/Angus Young spin on the riffs, demonstrating a real attention to craft that wouldn't have even occurred to them on their 1998 debut. Despite all of this maturity, Spend the Night ain't no Mantovani; the perpetually teenaged foursome still have their raw edges and sharp teeth, it's just that the edges rip deeper and the teeth bite harder with this more efficient and well-crafted rock assault.

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