THE DONNASAmerican Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine (Lookout!)
Let any first-time Donnas listeners be forewarned that this record delivers a serious ass-kicking. These four teenage girls from Palo Alto have spent an enormous amount of time in a shitty little garage perfecting the furious sound of high school rebellion. While their classmates were measuring trapezoids and dissecting fetal pigs, the Donnas were skipping curfew, smoking much cheeba and fantasizing about becoming the next Kiss, something they may yet accomplish.
With American Teenage Rock 'n' Roll Machine, the retro-garagey, recorded-in-a-washing-machine sound and cute shrieking vocals of their first singles are gone, and they're of course missed, but this is the record they've always wanted to make, with the beefed-up production and slightly raunchy lyrics of a classic Kiss or Motley Crue record, complete with Mick Mars-style guitar licks and Gene Simmons-size attitude. There are some very cool touches, such as the ridiculous '70s-rock-inspired grunts at the beginning of "Checkin' It Out," the ultracrunchy guitar and borrowed opening of the Crue's "Too Fast for Love" on "You Make Me Hot," and the over-the-top switchblade-metal guitar lick on "Looking for Blood." Singer Donna A. has never sounded so feisty, while guitarist Donna R. has been polishing her scalding leads and probably not getting much homework done.
Donnas singles like "A Boy Like You" or "I Want To Be a Unabomber" from a few years ago sound like they were cut by a completely different band from the bad-girls-grown-up who made this record, which in "Leather on Leather" has them purring, "I don't want to know your number/I don't want to know your name/I don't want to know how good you are/'cause to me they're all the same/I walk the streets at night/and I'm looking for lust/want instant satisfaction/so baby give me leather on leather."
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It's hot stuff, the most accomplished thing these gals have come up with yet, and one of the most awesome rock & roll records ever.