Mika Miko

We Be Xuxa

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Mika Miko burn through We Be Xuxa with the same ferocious-yet-fun energy of C.Y.S.L.A.B.F. and 666, but these songs focus the band's intensity with a slightly cleaner sound. This music is raw, but not totally rough, with a freewheeling atmosphere that covers the hardcore-tinged grappling of "Johnson R. Cool" as well as the loose party-punk jam "I Got a Lot (New New New)." And while the ladies of Mika Miko have never sounded like they lack guts, We Be Xuxa finds them confident enough to change things up, even as they deliver quintessentially thrashy songs like "On the Rise" and "Keep on Calling," which features Jennifer Clavin belting out the great line "I'm allergic to winter/I'm addicted to summer." She and Jenna Thornhill sing almost as much as they shout on the album, giving standouts "Blues Not Speed" and "Beat the Rush" brash yet melodic vocals, while a reworked version of 666's "Wild Bore" is fittingly feral thanks to its tribal backing chants. We Be Xuxa also shows off the band's expanded emotional range: "Turkey Sandwich" is wonderfully goofy, with Clavin and Thornhill trading off the call-and-response vocals "Ahhh wanna turkey!" "Sandwich!" over revved-up riffs. Meanwhile, "Sex Jazz," with its cascading toms and braying saxophone, snags a bit of the Raincoats' and Romeo Void's dark, haughty allure, and is the only song here that goes over the three-minute mark. Just 22 minutes long, We Be Xuxa doesn't waste time in proving that Mika Miko can expand on their Cali-punk roots without losing what made them vital in the first place.

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