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Retro Girls Go Gore Crazy

The Gore Gore Girls seem like the band that actually lives emotionally in the long-lost era of not-there-yet-and-straining-to-break-through. Which is to say that maybe they're real punks. And maybe they could develop their music in unexpected ways, given that they haven't yet integrated their various song styles, unless you count playing everything through ripped speakers as a form of integration. I'm wondering what happens if somehow the James Williamson guitar-chording can connect itself to the various other styles that they heave their noise at: Kinks, Crystals, Sonics, and so forth. And what would be the musical result (or even the social result)? Can unreconstructed retro-punk brats actually move their sub-sub-sub-microworld off its duff?

I'd say that New York band The Color Guard make music for living your life as an ongoing artist or musician—as opposed to music for changing your life. And so naturally enough they seem to draw emotionally on the Raincoats, Au Pairs, Delta 5, and, um, the Raincoats, bands that had helped transform punk from "get pissed destroy" to "work your way onwards."

My main reaction to the Color Guard is that their music sounds like the sort of music that friends of mine would make. In particular, it sounds like the music that my friends in the San Francisco band She Mob would make. More generically, it's Music That People Like Me Would Make (or maybe I should say it's Music That People Who Like Me Would Make, since I'm more like Eminem than like people like me, and I probably wouldn't make music like this)—or anyway, it's music that people who get into the same kinds of relationships as I do would make. ("Not My Valentine," the first and best song on the excellently relevant Color GuardEP [Suziblade Music], is about a girl with a boyfriend who won't commit. I wish I'd had this song during my most recent breakup. "I have insecurities too, and I am not afraid of you." My advice: Be afraid!)

The Color Guard have got homestyle guitar dreaminess and also the multi-vocal melodic-harmonic interplay that I was wishing Fab Disaster had—and in fact, they can bear comparison to the Raincoats in both creativity and feeling. That said, they don't have Fab Disaster's urgency or force, and there's an insistent lack of star power that I find annoying, as if they thought having unflamboyant vocals was an achievement (which is another problem with the "people like me" genre). They don't have Fabulous Disaster's immediate beauty, either. They do have non-immediate beauty, at least on the first two of their five tracks, and this beauty is just as beautiful as Fab's, and those two tracks are more musically and emotionally complex than any on these other girl-group CDs. Maybe the other girl groups pose a bit too much, while the Color Guard are too much themselves and don't pose enough, hence have less hunger in their singing. This is just a first EP, though, and who knows what's to come. My advice to them: Be more pretentious next time.


Gearhead, gearheadmagazine.com; Get Hip, gethip.com; Gore Gore Girls, goregoregirls.com; Pink & Black, pinkandblack.com; Rock And Fucking Roll, rafr.com; Suziblade, suziblade.com; TKO, tkorecords.com. The Color Guard play Galapagos August 19 and the Charleston in Williamsburg August 24.

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