MISS 45 – Miss 45 (No Talent Records)
There’s something heartening about a band thinking so highly of their guitars that they include them on the cover shot as opposed to, say, a copy of Pro Tools software or a computer mouse. When two of those instruments are a Les Paul Jr. double cutaway - favored by the likes of Joan Jett, Johnny Thunders, and legions of old-school Brit punks - and a Mosrite bass, it’s safe to assume the cosmos are beginning to position themselves into some sort of logical pattern.

And if you zap the zeros and ones on the shiny silver disc inside with a laser beam and it sounds like the New York Dolls arguing with the Mick Taylor-era Stones about drugs, girls, and who’s headlining, while the Beach Boys and Ronettes laugh and egg them on, you’ve just won the street jangle trifecta. And most likely holding something postmarked Scandinavia.

Miss 45 take their name from Abel Ferrara’s 1981 exploitation stunner “Ms. 45,” about a mute seamstress who has the ultimate bad day, raped once on the walk home from work and then again by a burglar when she stumbles into her apartment. Her revenge campaign on the male species isn’t pretty, unless you consider “I Spit On Your Grave” fine family entertainment, but… I’m spiraling completely off topic. I forgot this isn’t imdb.com.

Miss 45’s eponymous debut EP is a mad tangle of blazing, scattergun guitars and swaggering, hand-clapping bubbleglam – with a punk rock nip and tuck - lovingly crafted with no grand notions of world dominance (as if!) but nonetheless rudely impatient to get noticed. Smartly off the blocks with “High-Heeled Bitches,” the twelve strings of Colonel M. Knoxx and Felix Vendetta (love those names) crackle, churn, quiver, jab and parry like a tipsy swarm of wasps, the background “woo-oo-oo’s” and “yeah yeah’s” coating everything with not-a-care-in-the-world euphoria.

“(Everything’s More Fun) When You’re High” marries Dead Boys sentimentality and just a touch of menace with even more Wilsonesque rhapsodizing while “I Don’t Care” is all bluster, hammered power chords, a runaway-train pace set by drummer Dan Frankenstein, and a chorus covered in velcro.

The chaos winds down all too soon, but Miss 45 go out kicking and screaming with “Don’t Wanna Be Like That,” a lovelorn, stuttering Eric Beretta down but not out, Frankenstein’s one-note piano the most memorable outside of “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” and Keef and Ronnie, er Knoxx and Vendetta deciding that maybe the twang’s the thang after all.

Thirteen minutes doesn’t seem like much, but it’s more than enough time for these Swedes to nonchalantly mix melody, anger, pace, vulgarity, tension, and release with unpretentious spirit and spit out a handful of songs that would’ve made Thunders proud, turning everything they’ve touched here to gold. - Clark Paull


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