June 1, 2011

Mr. Suave's Reviews You Can Use: The Spazzys

The Spazzys wouldn't seem to be a sixties cover band at first glance, They're not. Yet their biggest hit to date was a pretty spot on bubblgeumpunk rendition of The Angels' 1963 chart topper "My Boyfriend's Back" -- a song that also vaulted to fame The Chiffons and was a hit for Martha and the Vandellas.

Still it's been over five years since the Aussie rocking trio made the song a hit. No matter where their boyfriends are these days, The Spazzys are back. And they're toting an album that's been yearning for release for a number of years. Dumb is Forever has just been publicly unleashed, after apparently languishing in a record producer's vault somewhere for the past half decade or so while the band fought it out with their record label. A couple of songs were released as singles over the years, which probably didn't make the label wanna make nice.

No matter, Dumb is Forever hardly sounds nearly a decade distant. It's not all that far removed from The Spazzys first album Aloha Go Bannanas which was released in 2004. Back then the girls weren't shy about their infatuation with The Ramones, ripping through two minute, three chord tunes with a just barely controlled restraint. Take "Paco Doesn't Love Me" for example.

Where Aloha Go Bananas really was an old school bubblegum punk rock album ala The Ramones, The Go-Gos or Nikki Corvette, Dumb Is Forever shows more hints of The Spazzys love of sixties music, and opens with a bit of sixties styled pop reminiscent of The Crystals "Da Doo Ron Ron" called "Understand".

The release has a maturity and smoothness that keeps the band relevant, and keeps them from simply treading water in the Ramones' pool forever. At the same time, it is still sort of a bubblegum power pop album, but one that delightfully never throws itself completely into the pop punk sound that it flirts with throughout. There are some nods to Green Day in songs with driving guitars and clever lyrics like "Creep" and "Love=Pain". "The Best Waves" ever is another bit of power pop that puts the emphasis on the pop, with a chorus that sits on the song like a float of bacardi waiting for a match. The song is probably one of the band's stand out originals. They haven't completely lost their edge though: "Makin' Trash" is by far the punkiest bit of pop on the album.

There's no denying The Spazzys still have a bit of a crush on The Ramones. Their songs just sound like leather jackets feel. It's old school punk rock, the kind that's really just power pop amped up on guitars and drums in a way that probably makes The Donnas pretty damn jealous. Just check out what I think is probably the best track on the album and in their whole catalog. This is definitely where The Spazzys' power pop tide crests: "Dissolution (Is The Only Solution)".

The Spazzys -- Dissolution (Is The Only Solution)