Precious and few are the records today that ably capture a timeless garage-punk sound and credible girl-group vocals and melodies. It seems like a holy grail combination often aspired to but rarely achieved. With its fifth album, Wicked Will, the New York-by-way-of-Los Angeles band The Ettes perfects its approach and proves it is possible to capture that kind of fire in the grooves.
Kicking out 14 songs in 32 minutes, singer-guitarist Lindsay "Coco" Hames, drummer Maria "Poni" Silver and bassist Jeremy "Jem" Cohen make music that feels traditional (primal even) but also modern at the same time. Quentin Tarantino or David Lynch would do well to place a few of this band's tunes on the soundtracks for their next movies.
Hames chirps like a coquettish Patsy Cline at the soda shop, but she can howl fiercely, too, especially in the tub-thumping "My Heart" and the Blondie-style melody of "One by One." Cohen is perhaps the band's secret ingredient—the big bottom he creates on such songs as "The Pendulum" and "You Were There" is sexy and infectious, dovetailing nicely with Hames' thick reverb guitar and the tribal pounding of Silver.
Oodles of fuzzed-out guitar riffs vibrate in the brain with pleasurable results, but The Ettes don't allow their endlessly catchy material to wear out its welcome; most of the best songs clock in at under three minutes in length.