Short, sweet, pop-punk bliss
Four years ago, Oakland’s Clorox Girls turned out an overlooked classic in pop-ish punk, their self-titled debut rampaging through 12 Buzzcocks-sweet, Dils-sardonic cuts in 17 minutes. Personnel changes ensued—at one point, the band was sharing a bass player with equally excellent Portland punks the Observers—and the band faded from view. Now, they’re back, or at least frontman Justin Maurer is. The bleach blond (chloroxed?) guitar/vocalist has two new band-mates and an album full of old and new alternate universe hits. The record, engineered by Exploding Hearts knob twister Pat Kearns, is fuzzier and less confrontational than the self-titled, its scrappy up-and-down strumming sweetened by hook-filled verse and chorus. It’s also partially in French, not just the title, but in an exuberantly goofy cover of Lio’s “Le Banana Split” and a keyboard bubbly romp through “Flowers of Evil” (surely a Rimbaud reference?). Maurer revists old triumphs—the pop-fantastic “Stuck in a Hole” from the self-titled and more ominous “Eva Braun” from an old 7”. But the new stuff is right on a par, especially “Caught in the Middle”, whose pile-driver drums and high-speed “whoo-ee-oohs” perfectly encapsulate teenage sexual confusion. Fans of Exploding Hearts, The Thermals, Observers and FM Knives… this one’s for you.
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.
// Sound Affects
"Natalie Hemby's Puxico is a standout debut from a songwriter who has been behind the scenes for over a decade.READ the article