SAHARA HOTNIGHTSat the Echo, November 7
Coming in, you have to wonder if these girls arent simply a less forgettable version of the Hives. They play fast, semisweet rock. Front-thing Maria has that smoldering Blackman sexuality -- very may fuck like shes boneless. None of these things makes you want to gaze lovingly Sweden-ward. So it comes as something of a surprise that not only do they fucking rock, they dont just rock. The Hives ringmaster is a brilliant performer, but the strength of his performance is dependent on how well he mimics Mick Jagger, Garage Warrior. Marias a demon of an entirely different hell -- the force of her performance is simply the force of herself, and she changes the nature of the band; it doesnt matter if its the same old loaf of punk -- shes iridescent butter. Watching her convulsed by the authority of her own voice, Im reminded of Corin Tucker before she was mummified by Rock Savior hype. Maria belts it out like shes yelling at God in a desert. True, her band dont have the origami precision of Sleater-Kinney, but they play as if intensity is prophylactic, will preserve them from darkness.
Fast and faster is the only rule, the only comment Maria offers to the oversold crowd, before pulling the pin from the next song. The music is just punked-out glam, and the lyrics wouldnt be out of place in any teenagers Big Thoughts notebook. But Sahara play relentlessly and fearlessly. They strut, they hair-in-face. They snake-charm. They any-verb-covered-with-sequins. They achieve the best approximation of joy Ive heard this year.
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The Jennie Bomb is the name of the album theyre supporting, and it exposes one more bed they share with the Hives: It lacks their shows concussive fury as a declaration of independence vibe. Its smaller than them. It will only make you lonely.