WE AIN'T HOUSEWIFE MATERIAL: AN INTERNATIONAL COLLECTION OF ALL GIRL PUNK, ROCK & GARAGE - Various Artists (Dionysus)
OK, they probably can't find their way around a kitchen for shit, but most of the fine bands on this loud and lusty compilation can cook up a storm musically. This is just the soundtrack to drive the visiting mother-in-law out the door.

The title's a slight misnomer as a few blokes sneak into the line-ups therein, but when the rawk is as paint-peeling and clever as much of this, who cares? Many fans of Righteous Rock Action will be at least on nodding acquaintances with some of the bands. If not, this is as good a place as any to start.

Two score bands (that's 20, dummy) and not a Donna amongst them, which just goes to prove (as if it has to be said) that there's more out there, under the surface, than what the tastemeisters would have you pick up on.

I'd guess that Mensen would be about the best known, although the sketchy liner notes have these Norwegians hailing from somewhere further south. "Sandy Starlight", from their second album, has a clattering bass-line and hard-to-ignore vocal from Mary Currie. Someone said these guys (more accurately: two girls, two guys) are breaking up or at least not touring any more. True?

The pace doesn't always have to be breakneck to convey energy: Fifi and the Mach 3 from Japan sound positively measured on "Have You Seen the Landscapes Today?". The ride cymbal needs a rest but the warm wave of fuzz guitar carries the day. Japrock usually throws up interesting music, even disallowing the absence of English with some bands. "Upside Down" is an organ-laced rave-up in the best acid punk tradition from Flowermulu.

Also from the Land of the Rising Sun: The Soap who put on their best spikey tops and dog collars for "Party". You could put a case that there's a real Japanese leaning at work, with no less than seven bands calling that country home. Astro Baby's come across as a touch too twee, but Frill's "Kajitsu" has enough off-the-wall tempo changes and away-with-the-Martians vocals to be more than a passing curiosity.

No prizes for working out which female guitarist UK band Candyrag admires the most - the intro to "Fight Back" is pure Poison Ivy. Cool. There's a brooding tone in Electric Angel's track, "Wrestle With an Angel", although the Nina Hagen vocal might throw a few. They're an American band, which is the case for only six bands. Of the six, The Blaire Bitch Project are my stand-out with "Shut the Fuck Up". Nothing like a gal that's direct, huh? Just don't drag your heels turning up to that dinner date.
- The Barman






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