Listen Up: Wednesday, April 11, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The All Girl Summer Fun Band

The All Girl Summer Fun Band (Kill Rock Stars Records)

By Matthew Smith

Sounding sunshiny, the All Girl Summer Fun Band’s debut feels 40 years old, even though it’s obviously brand-spankin’ new. Playing it straight with no ironic smirks, the girls bypass 30-odd years of musical influence and set the controls for the heart of Venice Beach, circa 1963. The trip is long and strange but curiously engaging.

Rudimentary instrumentation, Farfisa organ touches, and cheerful, off-key singing wrapped in pop-heaven harmonies, like the best of Phil Spector’s handiwork, revive the spirit of those days of yore. The girls wishin’ and hopin’ for some relief from the typical teenage demons comes off as heartfelt, not contrived like, say, the boys from Pepsi Co. throwing Tit-ney Spears into preppy garb to sell a few bottles of soda.

The chorus of “Theme Song” quickly lodges in the brain. “Hey, hey, we’re the Monkees,” it’s not; but it is credible. The garage-riff of “Car Trouble” (sample lyric: “You broke my heart / Now my car won’t start”) grinds out the album’s best rock ’n’ roll moment. And “It’s There,” with shades of flamenco and ye ye-girl pop, sparkles. Even if the AGSFB appear to be ninth-graders banging around on their big sisters’ instruments, well, they’re still pretty swell.


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