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Bitch Alert

I've played this all Summer, and I guess it's my record of the year if I had such a thing. Or it would be, if I hadn't just got hold of their third album, which is blindingly good. The review below seems a bit half hearted now. I didn't even mention another of my favourite tracks, Big Brother's Secret. So here's a lesson for us. When you get a new cd, play it in a bit before you write. This is a very good rock album.

Bitch Alert's ..rriot!Okay, let's address this point: did I buy this record because of its cover? Technically no, because I read a couple of short reviews which perked up my interest - they referred to the band being Finnish, female, and punk. Or grunge. But I admit the cover helped. They have a look but they're not in a 'look' if you see what I mean. Tarty but not entirely. Not formulaic girl band well obviously Kimmo (bass) isn't at all.

I nearly didn't buy it because of the name. And title. You couldn't signal more clearly your affiliation as descendants of the 'riot grrl' thing and Bikini Kill and all that. To the band: a more distinctive and imaginative title for your next album, please. But no matter, at least it avoids confusion, you have a rough idea of what you're going to get. And do you? In fact I haven't listened to much 'riot grrl' stuff and surprisingly little grunge considering my addiction to punk.
I think I listened to this on its own terms for the most part. Nirvana fans might be unimpressed, with the first few tracks especially, they'd be seeing the hand of Kurt in everything. Some'll say there's nothing new here.

But I kept listening. There came three tracks I really liked, Sandy, Monday and Loveson. Good well played rock music. I mean, Monday as a song couldn't be simpler, it's an uncomplicated medium speed thrash, it has a great riff and it keeps my head nodding happily. She (Heinie) says she wrote that one at school and perhaps it shows but so what, it's all about that universal experience of the lousy day, and what better way to get it out of your system than playing this. I know it's the kind of song I'll have had enough of before long, but I'm currently in the phase of feeling its deliciousness, and the electrifying whelping screech Heinie produces at the start of the chorus.

More very satisfying rock songs, churning and chugging, overlaid with Heinie's alienated and don't-mess vocals. I love you, songs called that are usually a bit more tender; Rockets and Poing (er is that right?), again no more musical surprises, just cozy riffs and rhythms holding our attention thanks to those lyrics and the band's delivery. The ones I've named, I'm picking my favourites out of the 14 tracks on the disk. Let's add Dope Sick Girl and maybe Geisha Nymfo... I didn't mention did I how a lot of it makes me laugh, there's a subtle sense of humour in there I think, maybe it's only how it sounds like they're having fun. This may be grunge, but I think this lot are well on top of any personal issues.

The nearest band to this I know are/were the much lamented Cay. Bitch Alert don't have Cay's Sonic-style musical edginess, as I say they're more conventional, but they do have a very well worked and convincing sound. Kimmo's bass delivers good solid weight while Maritta on sticks does some effective upfront drumwork. And Heinie is charismatically good, she wields a formidable vocal personality along with a powerful guitar.

Actually there's another thing they share with Cay, Heinie and Cay's Anet both smoke. Pity. But I guess they couldn't sing like that otherwise. Heinie's singing, well, she's definitely unignorable. Is that a word? Bitch Alert sound like an excellent unit, a well bonded threesome. Vicar. Anyway, is it down to the production? Interesting to see the band's direct involvement in most of it, looking at the cd's credits. If they're this competent live, that'd be very good indeed. And the question becomes relevant in July when the band are touring in the UK.
It'd be perfect wouldn't it, to catch them on a Monday...

31 May 2004

Saw them, supporting 3 Colours Red; but on a Tuesday. And then, at last, on a Monday :)

Bitch Alert - Pay For Orgasm - Kill Your Darlings - I Can Feel Your Bones