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The Donnas Spend The Night

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Monday, October 28, 2002 @ 9:45 AM


(Atlantic)

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I gotta admit, I was starting to give up on the Donnas. They had me charmed on their 1998 Lookout! debut American Teenage Rock & Roll Machine and I enjoyed both of the follow ups but somehow they seemed to get a little less exciting with each one. At first it was like, hey, these not teens sound just like the Runaways!!! Rad!!!! Then, like 5 years later, it was like, oh these chicks still sound just like the Runaways…..boooring. The first time I saw ‘em live I was blown right outta my ass by, but by the this time it was getting kinda old, like they were going though the motions. But hold onto your ass little darling, ‘cause their major label debut, Spend The Night, finds these Palo Alto gals worming their way right back into my heart…and my pants.

It’s sounds soooo cheesy to say but Spend The Night finds the Donnas finally growing up…albeit in a totally awesome teen queen kinda way. While they still embrace their Happy Days meets Foxes attitude and malt shop cuteness, vocalist Donna A., guitarist Donna R. bassist Donna F. and drummer Donna C., have stepped up to the plate and delivered a homerun (if I may be timely) with their Atlantic debut. The production is top notch and they finally actually sound like the Motley Crue record they so praise so often. The guitars scorch, the drums wallop, the bass is fat (no, not the bassist, you rat!) and the singer sounds like your best wet dream fuck doll.

In fact, it’s singer Donna A. who really hits her stride on this one, as she finally breaks out of her sometimes-monotone croon and finds several distinct voices throughout the songs. On the Poison-inspired opener “On The Rocks” she sounds like Cherie Currie’s little sister, just strutting and wailing in full on rock vixen mode. On the dynamic “Too Bad About Your Girl” she whispers breathy taunts about teen lust before scratching and howlin’ like an alley cat on the choruses. Pretty exciting stuff. Meanwhile, “I Don't Care (So There)” adds some boogie woogie piano to the mix and “Take Me to the Backseat” is as sleazy as it comes these days. “Take It Off” and “Who Invited You” are classic fist pumpin’ hard rockers, with AC/DC style riffs a-plenty, while “Who Invited You” and “Please Don’t Tease” could fit on any Best of ‘80s Metal mix-tape.

So to say they’ve grown up is a bit of a stretch but certainly these four Power Puffs have grown out of the “They’re-Pretty-Good-For-Girls” phase right into “Holy Shit This Band Rocks” mode. The Donnas no longer sound like a B-grade version of their heroes but are actually starting to rival their heroes for pure hard rockin’ firepower and headbangin’ anthems. Like Nashville Pussy and the Supersuckers before them, the Donnas are no longer a garage-y punk band destined for the pages of Flipside but have elevated into a full-scale arena-ready hard rock band that could easily grace the pages of Hit Parader….or…um…. Metal Edge. Dude, it's like totally bitchin'!!!

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