Brunettes | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

The Brunettes quite accurately describe themselves as "boy/girl melodrama pop inspired by 70s New York punk and 60s girl groups but created in an Auckland scene of opiate-infused garage rock 'n' roll." That makes my job a little easier, but it still doesn't capture the magnetic charm of 2004's Mars Loves Venus (Lil' Chief). The second full-length from the Kiwi couple--Heather Mansfield and Jonathan Bree--had me at the end of the first track, with its fuck-all two-chord garage riff, gleeful hand claps, twinkling toy sounds, and inspired call-and-response vocals. And considering they sustain that spontaneous, joyful energy across a slew of jaw-droppingly great tunes that bring to mind the Crystals, Beat Happening, and the Runaways, it's no surprise that the most hyped bands on this side of the globe started hyping the Brunettes. The Shins were the first to invite the band to the States as tour openers, Rilo Kiley followed, and now Clap Your Hands Say Yeah have taken them out on their third tour of the country in less than a year. In fact they've virtually moved here: their forthcoming album, due out on Sub Pop this summer, was recorded in New York, and they plan to tour the U.S. extensively for the rest of the year. Their live band is a shifting five-to-ten-member group of "amateur instrumentalists" called the Lil' Chief Pop Orchestrette; they're currently performing as a six-piece. Wonderful Smith and Faces on Film open. The Clap Your Hands Say Yeah show is on Monday. Tue 4/4, 9 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, 773-525-2508, $10.

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