Blue-collar, girl-fronted rock and roll band from Seattle talks a tough game but secretly -- or at least in the hidden track -- has a thing for gospel blues.
Women who front tough-assed garage bands -- like the Detroit Cobras, the Demolition Doll Rods, the Paybacks and now Thee Emergency -- sometimes overcompensate, ditching Iggy's vulnerability in search of his raw power. That's why it's heartening that Dita Vox displays more than an on-off switch in Thee Emergency's debut album. She can wail with the best of them -- as on the Ventures-riffed "Revolution #1" or the MC5-9sh fury of "Holdin' On". Still she's just as good, maybe better, when required to smoulder, as in the album-making title track or the down-tempo "Sweat Sex". She may have even spent some time in Sunday school, given the piano-chorded, sax-embellished stateliness of "Condemnation", and its gospelly hidden track. The band is as tight as Saturday night requires -- churning out firey guitar licks and pogo-tempo'd rockers -- but the songs a little derivative. I hear more than a hint of the Stones' "Start Me Up" in "Sugar" and a "House of the Rising Sun"-ish swagger in "Cream". Regardless, though, there's charisma and talent to spare here, and Dita's just getting started.