Suffrajett, s/t (In Music We Trust)
Smothered in fuzz, Suffrajett comes off like a grunge-y Eurythmics. The duo of guitarist Jason Chasko and singer Simi work with loud drums, growling bass and over-fuzzed guitars, but it is Simi’s hoarse and direct voice which separates them from the garage rock pack.
Suffrajett distinguish themselves further with a musical style that is choppy and punchy unlike the bouncy, jangly form that “garage” rock usually takes. Assuming this record was recorded as a two-piece, much of the choppiness is probably the result of not recording the tracks “live” but instead laying down drums and adding the rest afterwards. Nonetheless, the choppiness works for them. Especially with Simi’s voice which has a certain New Wave coolness to it.
“The Drugs” is especially infectious. With a bass so distorted that it has lost its low end playing a simple riff along with God-knows-how-many guitars, the song pounds along – dirty, but graceful. Simi’s voice is similarly fuzzed out as she pleads in dragged out notes, “Baby, are we doing all right?” The song develops simply by piling on instruments. More guitars come in and out of the mix; the drums start playing on every beat. The tune swells and after only two and half minutes ends.
The opener, “Love Me More,” has already introduced this style and structure to us. But rather than developing one hook for two minutes, “Love Me More” bounces from hook to hook. Its swelling refrain is accented with strings which build behind the tightly double-tracked vocals. Against the choppy guitar riffs, the strings are a nice counter.
Other songs present similar big hooks and big riffs — “NY” especially, “Whatcha Got” also.
But something about the record causes it to slip out of my mind when it’s not playing. The hooks, while satisfying during listening, haven’t become stuck in my head. There is the distinct possibility that this record is a grower and that in a couple of months, I will find myself wanting to hear its songs. But then, if it hasn’t stuck after several listens, how will it grow? I’m not a patient audience.
Immediately, I blame the anti-production production. The heaps of fuzz. The loads of guitars. The always double-tracked vocals. The fuzz boxes on the voice. The big riffs stand out, but each song has the same dynamics, or rather, lack of them.
Still, everytime I hear the big opening chords of “Cry Baby,” with its faux-arena rock posture set against a tiny keyboard, I feel like liking the band.