Bang Sugar Bang

Thwak Thwak Go Crazy!!

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Bang Sugar Bang are very loud, love their three-chord monsters, and are produced by Geza X on their second album, all of which more or less serves to describe Thwak Thwak Go Crazy!! pretty well. But to add more detail: co-lead singer Cooper can be, as needed, simultaneously bratty and exuberant in her vocals, which is actually a pretty neat twist -- these days, it seems, it's not all that common to hear sheer joy mixed in with snotty anger -- while her pipes are sharp enough that it's almost as if Pat Benatar had finally learned to really rock out. That helps set Bang Sugar Bang apart from the pack a bit, as does their love of anthems Cheap Trick-style -- "The Machine Gun Song," for instance, might not be the equal of Rick Nielsen at his best but it has the same take-charge uplift, from the sparkling guitar to the gang-shouted "Yeah yeah yeah!" from both Cooper and guitarist Matt Southwell. He's less distinct than his fellow singer but serves the songs themselves well, and the kind of guitar heroics he cooks up throughout push all the buttons in just the right way (fans of the Rezillos or the Boys would likely approve). A good chunk of Thwak Thwak Go Crazy!! seems to exist to castigate the industry the bandmembers find themselves in -- the one-two punch of "Kill the Radio" and "Major Label Interest" almost says it all, which could reduce the impact of the band to an in-joke -- but the former is more about trying to get somebody out of your life while the latter has such a killer chorus they could be singing about dead dogs and it would still work. It's these kinds of things -- not to mention a fun cover of the Gun Club's ultimate song, "Sex Beat," with Cooper doing the honors on vocals -- that make this album a kick of a listen.

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