Bangs, Sweet Revenge (Kill Rock Stars)

Posted May 10th, 2000 by admin

Sweet Revenge
Kill Rock Stars
By: Eric G.

Sweet Revenge would be if this album took over commercial radio. Bangs churns out old school Ramones-style punk and inserts a fifties bad girl flare along with some of the catchiest hooks to come out of the Northwest in a decade. With Sarah Utter and Maggie Vail sharing vocals, the band fuses tough girl sassiness with a youthful sense of vulnerability and innocence.

The songs are short, sugary bursts of classic pop punk. This is the way punk rock is supposed to sound: dirty, fast, and infectious. Bangs is not just a nod to retro punk nostalgia either. There’s a definite sense of the now. The vocals are brash and bratty but tuneful and charming all the same. You can hear traces of the Runaways, Cheap Trick, and even The Go-Go’s, but Bangs puts its unique stamp on songs like “Southern Girls”, the album’s poppiest and most charismatic track.

Sweet Revenge flies by before you can believe what you’ve just heard. It’s impossible to play Bangs at a low volume. There’s no pretense here: just full throttle punk rock fun. Bangs shares only vague similarities to labelmates Sleater-Kinney and all the other Northwestern, female-fronted punk rock bands. The band has no agenda other than to rock, and, if they didn’t prominently feature women, no one would even draw any comparisons to its peers.

Bangs is a melodic and ferocious trio (drummer Kyle Ermatinger used to play with Seaweed’s Aaron Stauffer in Spook And The Zombies), but the band is a bit of a paradox, mixing both aggression and insecurity. Inside the ‘bad girl’ shell is a starry-eyed and naive core. The riffs are simple and timeless, and the vocal harmonies are incredibly addictive. This isn’t music that makes you think; it’s music that makes you crank up the stereo when you’re speeding down the road.

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