The Slingbacks came into being when Shireen Liane (guitar/vocals), a veteran of several bands in California and Arizona, was prompted by a reading of the I-Ching to go to England, where she met Mandi Leckie (bass) and Gavin Skinner (drums), all of whom were united by a love of punk and power pop artists such as the Buzzcocks, Big Star and Cheap Trick. At the time that the trio, originally known as Ms.45, was making itself known, a distinct transatlantic divide was developing between the noisy, 70s rock leanings of US bands and the more poppy, 60s-tinged sounds of Britpop. Although unashamedly derivative, the Slingbacks’ sound managed to marry the two traditions, betraying hints of the world-weary toughness that characterised another UK/US synthesis, the Pretenders. Despite some nifty hooks, riffs and harmonies, and the production skills of sometime R.E.M. twiddler Mitch Easter, the band’s solitary album did not get a particularly rousing reception from the UK critics - perhaps proving that being derivative is OK, provided you rip off the ‘right’ sounds.
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