Sahara Hotnights, Reigning Sound | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Sahara Hotnights, Reigning Sound

by

Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe

comment

On their first two albums, Swedish rock chicks Sahara Hotnights showed a fondness for the power-pop side of punk, nicking the Real Kids' look (jean jackets, sneakers, Bert-and-Ernie striped shirts) and sometimes sounding like a superbutch Holly & the Italians. Singer Maria Andersson's sweet, muscular voice is the perfect instrument for delivering pop hooks, and on the new Kiss & Tell (RCA) the band goes so far as to pair it with one of those Go-Go's synths that sound like a marimba (and wouldn't you know it, they're wearing upturned preppy collars and pointy shoes). But the writing is tight, and there's still enough guitar crunch to keep the songs fresh, not just nostalgic. Billmates the Reigning Sound are the current baby of longtime garage chevalier Greg Cartwright, who earned his peerage with the Oblivians, but the two bands are a better match than you'd expect. Underneath the Oblivians' matted fur there was always a narrow-chested pop frame, and with this group Cartwright has trimmed away a bit of the noise and attitude to let it peek through. All you fans of blown-out Cartwright stompers like "Feel Real Good" and "Kick Your Ass," keep your shirts on--"pop," like "wuss," is a relative term. On the Reigning Sound's third album, Too Much Guitar (In the Red), even the ooh-ooh background vocals on "Your Love Is a Fine Thing" are smeared with static. If you crave pissy lyrics, there's the punky "Medication," an ode to drowning one's troubles in a bottle. And Cartwright can still make you feel perfectly filthy: the luxury-cruisin' bass-and-drums groove on "When You Touch Me"--well, I'll just say that if they play that number live, you're gonna need a change of pants. The Hives headline; this show is sold-out. Monday, July 26, 7 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark; 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212.

Add a comment