By Noah Lopez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
No. 6 Records
Forget Veruca Salt, Belly, the Throwing Muses or any other band with three guys backing up a female lead singer. Pork is here, with a sound strong enough to smack those bands sing-song melodies and anemic lyrics back to where they belong.
Strip, the full length debut by the Austin, Texas female trio, is a tour de force mix-up of early '80s new wave and late '70s raunch and roll. The album runs the gamut of energetic punk, from the blistery punk rock raveup of "I'm a Hog for You Baby" to the early '80s harmonic twists and silly lyrics of "UHF" to the punk dirge of "Sweeter the Better" Äthere simply isn't a bad song on the album.
Guiding the energy and crafty hooks of the music is superior production by fellow Austinian Alejandro Escovedo (no I'm not obsessed with Escovedo, it's purely coincidental) who strips the sound down to its low-fi best. Edith Casimir's drumsticks seemingly pop off of her set while her bass drum provides a boomy counterpart to Mary Hattman's vibro-bass sound. With Dana Smith garagey guitar and sneery vocals sitting fatly on top of the hollow production, there's a definite feeling of trepidation attached to the overall sound of the album.
The songwriting is top notch as well. Pork sets Escovedo's "Gravity" on fire, whipping his tuneful ballad into a taunting rage-a-thon, but their true strength comes out in "Spineless Wonder", a tempo-shifting degradation of the title character. "Spineless Wonder/Why don't you make yourself happy," Smith taunts.
Strip is a welcome break from the tired MTV waif-rock that has pervaded female rock as of late.
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