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Juliette and the Licks

We're overdue for some old-fashioned rooster-strutting rock 'n' roll performed by a powerful woman. And, betraying my prejudice against actors who moonlight in bands, I'd never have expected it from Juliette Lewis.

Here we are, though, and Juliette is a natural born rocker. Her band's second full-length CD is a powerhouse example of the kind of rock that makes your blood bubble and your brains bake.

Naturally, Lewis comes correct with a full house of serious players who get the job done while not daring to steal the show from our gal. But she also brings the chops with confident vocals. She can scream melodically and with authority, chirp little-girl sweetness, growl poetically, spit out ball-busting kiss-offs in the style of Chrissie Hynde or moan a lascivious, breathy threat that we boys can't help getting all flushed over.

"Get Up" is a convincing AC/DC-meets-The Who showcase. "Bullshit King" and "Killer" are old-school punk in the grand tradition of the New York Dolls. "Purgatory Blues" is a hot-rod-style classic that ought to be in a Quentin Tarantino film. "Mind Full of Daggers" calls to mind the Stones, but it has an irresistible, new-wavey hook to boot.

Most capably displayed on the opening trio of tunes--"Smash and Grab," "Hot Kiss" and "Sticky Honey"--this is Sunset Strip glam-rock at its trashiest, but that never stopped the boys from playing this sort of thing. And we certainly can't deny Juliette the right to do it, especially when the results freaking rock like this.

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