SNATCHING DEFEAT FROM THE JAWS OF VICTORY - The Aaampirellas (Aampirellas)
Any doubts that this is an album to be taken seriously subside about a quarter of the way into the opener, the "Astra Wally"-like throb of "Don't Want You Anymore". The guitars roar and bassist Trixie spits out fuck-you lyrics with a sweet, yet dangerous vocal. The raunchy "Gotta Situation" puts it beyond doubt and "Wasted" plants the album up there with the best releases of 2003. All from a Brisbane band (two guys, two gals) who, until now, have been barely known outside their home town.
The Aampirellas draw a lineage through membership of Brizzy bands like the chaotic Strutter (for whom guitarist Evil Dick used to sing), the Hymies and the Genies. By these ears' reckoning, they're the pick of the crop in a busy but very low profile Brisvegas music scene that deserves more attention. The Powder Monkeys' Tim Hemensley (R.I.P.) gets acknowledgement in the liner notes and why not? That band's innate ability to blend the best Oz pub rock with Motor City energy is an obvious touchstone. Equally obvious is the Aampers' nod to pure white noise in a track like "Arm Killer", where a river of pure fuzz runs through a storming guitar lines and a wonderfully cool Trixie vocal.
The backline is brutal, drummer Doma working off Trixie's unadorned but solid basslines. Guitars and smart riffs abound, but it's not the attention to six-stringed detail that wins the day single-handedly; the forthright vocalising of Trixie is the icing and it sets her apart as the best Oz female vocalist around today. Quick summary: Bittersweet with an imperious streak a mile wide.
Nowhere does it work better than on "Fist Fight". I spied a review that branded the band a cross between the Stooges and the Runaways. Can't do much better than that as an approximation, although they lack the sloppy plod of the former and plastic contrivedness of the latter.
There's an obvious likelihood of the Aampers being pigeonholed with the rest of the New Rock bands but the fact is that their membership's been cranking this stuff out in isolation from any trends. "Snatching Defeat..." was accorded Album of the Week status by Triple Jay - proof positive that not everyone at the Australian national yoof network has shit between their ears. Hell, the band even used a horribly mangled metaphor from an I-94 Bar review on their promotional poster! Can't fault that, even if our wordage is appalling...
There was major label interest in the Aampirellas but it came to nothing after some demos (thanks for the copy, guys). The lack of follow-through is perplexing - the tracks are outstanding - but it's also comforting in a way, to know that these guys can still steer their own course and still attract significant interest. Of course the way forward is obvious and it involves air tickets and passports. There's no reason why, finances allowing, the Aampers couldn't tread the same path as the Drones. Anyone in the States or Europe wanna give 'em a listen? - The Barman
P.S. Oh, and a tip. If you can't find this album in your local shop, try rockinghorse.net where it's going for a measley $A19.95.
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