The Peels

The Peels

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There are shenanigans in the Peels' past. The quartet began in Seattle, migrated to San Francisco, became darlings in L.A., and may or may not have snagged a fat contract with Capitol -- all before anything had been recorded. But it's important to note that this early buzz came as much from the group's killer live show as it did from rumors about the bandmembers' vintage clothing habits or the love life of switchblade-slender lead singer Robyn Miller. And upon Dim Mak's February 2005 issue of this eponymous EP, it's the music that holds up. Not in the sense that the Peels are doing anything new. There's that imagination-static b/w cover art, for one (see: Jet, Datsuns). And the band's buzzy, catchy blend of punk revivalist bite and hard rock guitar heroics flaked with bits of glam and new wave isn't incredibly unique. But Miller can really roar to go with her hiccups, yelps, and sighing microphone come-ons, and the Peels' dual guitar setup is as effective, loud, and tingly as anyone else's. "Lay" and "Gold Chains" are addictive standouts. Swaggering riffs and bass? Check. Weedly-weedly guitar fills? You know it. Lyrics like "Down and dirty on my knees"? Accounted for. "You Talk Too Much" is a muscular late-'70s throwback, "These Things, They Fall Apart" has Miller doing a spunky Blondie over rumbling bass, and the hyper chord changes and bustling rhythm section of "I Don't Know" reenergize Go-Go's punk-pop. The Peels' debut EP is a clever, eager calling card that wastes no time with pleasantries. They acknowledge their debt to a past-masters library of coolest songs in the world, then move past trailing tendrils of attitude.

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