As the Strokes were taking New York by storm with their blend of lifts from late-era Velvet Underground, early Modern Lovers, and the first Television album, Vancouver's the Cinch were perfecting their own distaff blend of the same influences. The difference is that the Cinch's debut lacks the whiff of arrogance that colors the glammy New Yorkers' efforts; the far more diffident vocals of Jennifer Smyth are Doug Yule or Richard Lloyd to Julian Casablancas' Iggy Pop/David Johansen cross-breed. More importantly, the five-piece band (also including singer/guitarist Kathy Dube, guitarist Mark Epp, bassist Geoff Thompson, and drummer C.C. Rose) burns through these three-minute pop songs with punky intensity instead of snotty attitude, giving lesser songs like "French Maid" and "Got To" an extra energy boost even as it lifts top-drawer stuff like the kinetic opener "Once a Week" and the howling "Talk and Talk" to a higher plane. In these surroundings, the closing cover of the Modern Lovers' classic "She Cracked" not only stands up to the original, it almost sounds like an original. The Cinch was originally released on the tiny Canadian indie Stutter Records in the summer of 2002. Seattle's slightly larger Dirtnap label gave it a belated United States release in early 2003.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stewart Mason