Alice Deejay

Who Needs Guitars Anyway?

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As anybody who cringed at the sight of the Spice Girls' Mel C performing solo gigs in a Motörhead T-shirt can attest to, it's not a pleasant experience seeing authenticity sold down the river. It's even less pleasant hearing it happen. Because chock full of bleached-white smiles and powdered trance-pop, this girl-centric "collective" from the Netherlands relentlessly pours on the three-minute co-opted dance tricks until even the staunchest defenders of cheese will be reeling in pain. At least there are moments of dexterous banality that provide some comic relief. Pop-tastic dance muscles are flexed in the singles "Back in My Life" or "Better Off Alone" (unsurprisingly both stacked early on in the album), and during "Will I Ever," lead singer Judy even coos, "Will I ever fall in love/And will you be the one for me/Na na na na wheeooh nanana." One has to admit that this amusing ghost-writing savvy might prove useful sometime in the future. For the most part, though, the rest of the album's insufferable 12 tracks recycle old ideas ("No More Lies") and sugar-coat once impressive underground movements ("Elements of Life") in such high degrees it's almost unbearable. Who Needs Guitars Anyway? is an album that seems to jiggle to the sound of cheerleaders trying to convince themselves they ever understood anything important. It's merely the musical equivalent of a shameless, trite photo-op.

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