If Interpol is the mainstream musical brain fodder of mopey art students, then She Wants Revenge’s self-titled debut acts as the melodramatic junior high schooler’s equivalent. This is not to say that She Wants Revenge doesn’t show promise, just that their foray into self-importance tends to fall flat. Dissonance and droning vocals mark pretty much every cut off the album, making even the most synthesized dance numbers come across as mildly depressing.
She Wants Revenge works predominantly as an electro-clash album gone wrong. Brushing aside the fact that frontman Justin Warfield’s vocals sound like a frighteningly accurate impression of Paul Banks, the lyrics present themselves as nothing more than hollow metaphors and indifferent ramblings. It takes the nonchalant listener about two tracks to figure out the hidden message here. “I heard it’s cold out, but her popsicle melts / She’s in the bathroom, she pleasures herself / Says I’m a bad man, she’s locking me out / It’s cause of these things, it’s cause of these things.” To say the least, I think I’ve struggled longer with the TV Guide crossword puzzle. And, like any good concept album about having trouble with the ladies, the band’s shtick gets old real quick.
The rest of the record plays like a jilted lover’s sexually charged musings, complete with not one, but two songs about sadomasochistic role-playing. The heavily repetitive chorus on “Sister” gives us an all-too-literal play-by-play of Warfield’s pillow talk: “She closed her eyes and said quit the talking / You can hurt me do whatever you’d like / So he said shut your mouth girl the angels are listening.” While the newly minted radio staple, “Tear You Apart,” takes the graphic dance groove to a whole other level, juxtaposing lines like “I want to hold you close” with some pained yammering about pulling hair.
In the end, it is She Wants Revenge’s lack of innovation, coupled with its lack of subtlety that truly ruins the effort. And with that whole one-hit-wonder thing already taken care of, I foresee She Wants Revenge headlining a permanent gig in the $2.99 bin at the Wherehouse.
[Aly Comingore gets the money, dollah dollah bill.]