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The All Girl Summer Fun Band serves up good times and clever lyrics, indie-pop style

Wednesday, Mar 27 2002
Some bands are perfectly named. The Supreme Dicks were so cantankerous they were banned from playing at their college; the Butthole Surfers sounded as shit-encrusted and twisted as that name; and, say what you will about Led Zeppelin, but the act sure was heavy. Now you can add Portland's All Girl Summer Fun Band (a moniker first chosen as a descriptor rather than a name) to this rich pantheon.

On its self-titled K Records debut, the foursome -- guitarist/organist Kim Baxter, guitarist Jen Sbragia, bassist Arirak Douangpanya, and drummer Kathy Foster -- is the epitome of good times and warm cheer. Whereas Sbragia's previous band, the Softies, spun a wintry sort of music full of crystalline guitars, frozen-love lyrics, and harmonies that circled each other like figure skaters, the All Girl Summer Fun Band offers campfire sing-alongs, cheery organ fills, and a surprisingly sharp sense of humor. On "Cut Your Hair," Sbragia shares her bitterness over losing her hipster boyfriend to an Australian girl: "Hey where's some good food in this town?/ I wouldn't know I can't keep anything down/ The thought of you both on your knees/ Rearranging all her CDs." In "Later Operator," all four ladies detail their boys' faults -- one rarely bathes, another never pays, a third is too shy to say hi, and the last is scooter-crazed -- before letting slip that they'll keep them around because they're good in the sack. On "New in Town," Sbragia moons over a cutie pie, only to see him sitting arm-in-arm and knee-to-knee with another boy.

As you'd expect from the band's name, AGSFB's music is sugary sweet, dressed up in hearty hand claps, jangly guitars, and shuffling drum patterns. All four lasses sing in voices that threaten to burst at the seams, especially during their "shooby doo" harmonies. AGSFB may not be everyone's idea of fun, but, as the bandmates sing in their theme song, "With Kathy, Kim, Arirak, and Jen/ When you hear the songs you'll wanna hear them again."

About The Author

Dan Strachota


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