The Donnas- Bitchin’ (Purple Feather)

The Arts — By on October 15, 2007 at 4:58 pm

When The Donnas, still in their teens, first came on the scene in the late 90’s, they seemed charmingly stuck twenty years behind the times. They dressed like fast girls circa ’77 and played a primitive hard rock that seemed solely influenced by Kiss, The Ramones, and AC/DC. They were the American teenage rock n’ roll machine- chicks who did a lot of time in detention for cutting classes and smoking in the girls’ room. Finally, there was a band that rockers, punks, and pervs could all agree on.

Now, fresh from a two album hit-and-miss stint in the big leagues with Atlantic, The Donnas have retreated to indieland, started their own label, and are Bitchin’. They’ve also re-calibrated the wayback machine and have set it for 1985. So the question for you, dear reader, is: Do you love the 80’s? I mean really love the 80’s? Because this is no ironic trip- it seems that our girls have been listening to a lot of early hair metal (translation: pre- Poison’s Look What The Cat Dragged In). Sure, the old influences are still there (the “Love Gun” drum roll in the title track, the Joan Jett/Gary Glitter beat of “Don’t Wait Up For Me”, the party-til-ya-puke lyrics), but Bitchin’ is Sunset Strip-mining all the way. The album opens with the sound of an air-raid siren. Is it a signal to run for cover from the rock and roll assault that is about to be unleashed, or is it a tribute to Kix, who kicked off their debut album the same way back in 1981? No matter- critical thinking is anathema to an album that dares to sport a cover photo of some dude’s leather-clad ass (a gender-reversed homage to the inner sleeve of Kiss’s Creatures Of The Night, methinks). The party rolls on for fourteen hard-rocking songs and The Donnas now look more like Vixen than The Runaways. Who knows where this could lead? Maybe next time out they’ll try a power ballad. Until then, Bitchin’ is just that… but comes up short of rad.

RATING (1-10): 6

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