red lights


Sunny bubblegum a bit sticky

Sahara Hotnights

Sahara Hotnights - Kiss & Tell
(RCA Records)
2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 16, 2004

Review by Tony Bonyata

Either they smelled the demise of garage rock before the crash, or their manager only remembered to load up the tour bus with The Go-Gos and Pat Benatar CDs prior to heading into the studio.
Whereas the all-girl Swedish quartet Sahara Hotnights' last album Jennie Bomb embraced the gritty sounds of garage rock with a sneering edge, on their third full-length release Kiss & Tell they set out to clean up their act with a slicker production filled with catchy early '80s sounding ditties and a decidedly more middle-of-the-road pop approach.
With numbers that nick The Cars' dated cheesy organ ("Stay/Stay Away") and buddies up next to Romeo Void's dry sultry vocal delivery ("Keep Calling My Baby"), as well as dancing alongside the saccharine-sweet, happy-go-lucky pop of The Go-Gos ("Empty Heart" and, well, just about every other tune here for that matter), this album turns out to be ode (i.e. blatant rip-off) to the sounds that dominated J.J. Jackson's Pioneer SuperTuner in the 1980s.
But just because No Doubt turned a career out of mining the sounds from that musically vacant decade - not to mention bands such as The Strokes briefly tipping their hats to the same period - it doesn't mean it will work for everyone, as proven on Kiss & Tell.
Sorry, but when I hear familiar bubblegum pop from four Swedish cuties it smells like a pre-packaged hype to me. Which is exactly why the major labels, not to mention your kid sister, will love this stuff.

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