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The Husbands 

Introducing the Sounds of the Husbands

Wednesday, Aug 13 2003
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Risen from the ashes of locals No Knife, the Vanishing, and the Lies, S.F.-based trio the Husbands bash it out in the manner of such simpatico outfits as the Gories, the Mooney Suzuki, and the Gore-Gore Girls. Which means you can count on brief, brash, and basic chunks of rock 'n' roll fury, churned out with a minimum of subtlety (and chords). Other perks to look forward to include a heavy reliance on the time-honored pounding/shuffling Bo Diddley beat (the band covers his autoerotic "Cadillac" here) and raspy, near-hoarse vocals declaiming the joys and frustrations of carnality.

The all-female Husbands (two guitars and drums -- no bass) come on like a debauched version of the classic '60s tuff-gals the Shangri-Las. However, this band's been transported from the street corner to the garage and occupies itself by lusting after male companionship and the finer things in life with impatience, swagger, and aggression to spare. The trouble with much of this kind of music is its one-dimensionality: After a while, a barrage of pugnacious bravado, grungy, fuzz-drenched guitars, and stiff drumming gets to be a tad numbing. But the Husbands have the potential to rise above that, as indicated by two choice cover tunes here. Tipping their hat to those other, more passive girl groups, the Husbands redo the Shirelles' AM radio staple "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow" in a steely, reserved manner that changes the tone from a plea to a demand, yet still retains the yearning quality of the original. The album concludes with a winsomely haunting, slightly ethereal, truly affecting version of the Drifters' "There Goes My Baby," the vocals of which are possessed by a very real pathos. While their lean, mean punk rock MO carries the rest of the album, the ingenuity exhibited on these tracks proves that the Husbands are no one-trick pony.

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Mark Keresman

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