The Soviettes

The Soviettes LP

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New wave meets no wave on a Twin Cities bus, and the next stop is mid-'90s Kill Rock Stars-style slash and burn girl punk revivalism. They still make bands like this? From the start to its all-too-quick finish, the Soviettes' eponymous debut is a treble-kicking trip to the past in glorious fast-forward. Sturgeon (Maren Mocosko) , Annie Holoien, Susy Sharp, and Y chromosome ringer Danny Henry know it's all been done before -- the overdriven, two-minute songs, spazzy drum fills, and Raincoats-style girl group vocals. But their skinny fists are packed with melodies, their socks are striped, and every bassline is lovingly shellacked by slashing, barely tuned guitars that make everything sound like Sleater-Kinney covering Lush on a crappy AM radio station. Of course, there will be naysayers. The bandwagon scuttlebutt in their native Minneapolis has tended to focus more on the girls' ex-boyfriends' bands, and besides this full-length, there's only one measly 7" to ferret out. But doesn't half-assed exuberance count for anything anymore? It certainly did when Yo-Yo's Periscope compilation came out in 1998. The Soviettes is the spiritual cousin to that album's fabulous amateurism, and carries the torch for the "Hey! Let's start a band!" movement that spawned so many inspired combos during the 1990s indie rock boom. "Do you know why they hate us?" sing the Soviettes in "Clueless," a peppy punk-wave rocker that clocks in at a minute and a half. It might be the soundbite before "Land of the Clear Blue Radio" that indirectly proclaims them as the saviors of rock & roll. But then the neck-nodding song starts, complete with a four-four count-off, white noise guitars, and squealing vocals. It's hard to hate full-on when your feet are dancing so fast.

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