As if the pink sparkles, rainbows, hearts, and unicorns that decorate the cover of Miss TK & the Revenge's debut album, XOXO, aren't enough clues that this band cherishes all things fun, girly, and oh-so '80s, listening to their new wave and dance-pop-inspired musical confections confirms that these are their obsessions. Fortunately, their obsessiveness is infectious: XOXO is a sweet and playful album that should appeal to anyone who likes the frothier, frillier side of new wave. Like many of the new wave revivalists of the 2000s, Miss TK (aka Tannis Kristanjson, who along with husband/drummer Ari Katz used to be in Lifetime and later, Zero Zero) channels Blondie, but she does so in a softer, breathier way than most of her contemporaries. The sassiness of Cyndi Lauper, Missing Persons, and countless other female-fronted new wave bands is also a major influence, particularly on the cheeky "Fake Italians Ain't No Stallions." Brief outbursts like "Locals Only" nod to harder-edged punk, but the album's poppiest, pinkest moments are the best: "Hey Baby Yeah," "Nowhere to Go," "Don't Call Me," and "Elevator" are energetic, innocent, and knowing -- everything that made girly new wave fun the first time around as well as in the 2000s. On songs like the irresistible "Sunshine, Sunshine, Where Are You?," Miss TK and crew are so hooky that they come across like a scruffier version of No Doubt. "Unicornucopia (I Love Nico)" is another standout, a delicate but driving track that makes the most of the album's spare production. The bareness of XOXO's sound leaves some of the tougher-sounding songs, such as "Your Show" and "Basement Demo," sounding a little constrained. However, this is a minor quibble with an album that's as sweetly retro as Love's Baby Soft or a bubblegum Lip Smacker; as Miss TK sings on "Concentrate," this album is the perfect soundtrack for "Dancing in my room/Catching my reflection."
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AllMusic Review by Heather Phares