I’ll give you the full run down in a sec, but really, I’ll be looking for 400 fancy words to say:

“Yeah. Oh hell yeah.”

Now, what’s the deal? How does Mary-Jane happen? A couple of girls, Teri Flynn and Rachel Goulding, high school friends if I read this correctly, decide they want to rock out, and they just up and do? In what country does this happen? Great Britain, as it turns out.

Let me be clear: I’m not grading on a curve here. This isn’t “aw, these girls are trying hard and have spunk!” This isn’t indy-label affirmative action or reviewer charity. They’ve got all the tools now:

Catchy melodies? Check.

Strong lead vocals? Check, and keep in mind that convincing, powerful lead singing in a serious rock band is like pitching in major league baseball – there’s never enough. But these ladies have it, and they have it in spades.

Powerful harmonies? Check.

Lyrics that some segment of the population probably will say “wooooooo!” too when they hear them? Check. (I’m a 35-year-old male, I can’t say I relate to their lyrics but I can tell they don’t stink.)

Proficient musicianship (the traditional bugaboo of indy rockers)? Checkity-check.

Double dose of ass-kicking? Check-a-mundo.

And the most amazing thing of all about this album? The first 30 seconds are pretty darned bad. It’s like, despite this being a studio-produced track, they have opening-number jitters. And despite the shaky opening, “Lipstick” gets into the pocket and just cooks right along. These aren’t screaming heavy metal types, a la Disturbed.  They strike as a more measured version of Green Day. Yep, I’ll mention Green Day in their review and not question it for a moment; that’s how good they are.

Now, before I lose all credibility forever, let me say that this is still clearly a young act. There are seven tracks on the album, and one of them is an alternate take. The drummer sounds like a novice; their website mentions “line-up changes” and, given that two members of this trio are the best friend ladies who founded the group, it’s likely that they’re still in search of a steady percussionist. The production values are also rudimentary; not that I’m encouraging over-production, but the mikes could be placed better and the levels are occasionally out of whack.

 

~ review by John Casker

Artist: Sara Softich

self-published, 2006

www.sarasoftich.com

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