The first time I listened to The Donnas' new album 'Bitchin' it was on that same boom box I mentioned in my review of House Of Shakira's 'Retoxed.' Big freakin' mistake. You think I would know better by now! I was preparing dinner for the family and tried to listen carefully. My conclusion: the whole album sounded the same, every song ran together like a 'Law & Order' marathon on the USA network. I was hardly impressed. Then I gave it a spin in Dangerdog headquarters (almost a month later) on my first class retro sound system which include some vintage Advent speakers. What a difference time and location makes. This is a pretty fine album. Sure, there's alot of suspicious repition here, but this album rocks.
Here's the lowdown in some staccato statements. This album consists of basic three minute pop/hard/metal songs. The best thing is the quick guitar work on each song. The production is crystal clear and vibrant. Many songs have a near metal feel like 'Don't Wait Up For Me,' Wasted' and 'Like An Animal.' The girls spice it up on 'Here For The Party' with a little harmonica at the conclusion. 'Better Off Dancing' has the beat and the licks to be a tremendously fun number. 'Love You Till It Hurts' is both heavy in the rhythm section and smooth in vocals. 'Girls Talk' throws you back to The Ramones, and that is a damn fine compliment.
Overall, this is the best Donnas album since their inception. The girls have really hit their groove on 'Bitchin.' However, most listeners may find this album severly repititious, possibly even boring to the point of mediocrity. They may even classify them as a poor man's Joan Jett or a female parody of The Ramones. But I would say that they're wrong. The best part of this album is the brevity of the songs, the classy guitar work (Allison Robertson kicks some serious ass), and the savvy, sometimes sarcastic lyrics (consider 'Give me What I Want:' 'So who's your girlfriend; she looks like a real winner;' gotta love that!). You need to listen to each song on it's own merit. I can't say it's on my top ten list for the year, but it's one helluva fine rock 'n' roll album. Keep it up girls, someday the boys will catch up.
BTW: The Donnas have taken their destiny into their own hands by forming ther own label, 'Purple Feather Records.'
- Craig Hartranft
The Donnas lastest release finds the girls at the top of their form delivering catchy hard rock tunes in the punk style of the Ramones. Production is terrific and the playing, intense. 'Bitchin' is well worth your attention.
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