Thursday, April 26, 2007

Sister Vanilla

Little Pop Rock
Chemikal Underground

The horrible band name is only one of the many obstacles that Sister Vanilla throws at listeners with Little Pop Rock. The project was conceived by Jesus & Mary Chain siblings William, Jim and Linda Reid, and long-time cohort Ben Lurie. Though the album is not an entire failure, it is the weakest link in the Reid family catalogue thus far… Yes, it’s even worse than Munki if that’s possible.

Opening number “Pastel Blue” is a sweet and day dreamy number that would work well in a Sesame Street montage, and “Jamcolas” could have easily been culled from some long-forgotten cache of Psychocandy outtakes. But as soon as little sister Linda’s airy croon takes shape, the album’s finer qualities are stripped away.

“Can’t Stop the Rock” is the discernable breaking point. Linda’s voice bares an unmistakable family resemblance, evoking the most brilliant moments of her brothers’ careers. But amidst the inane lyrical chatter and the circa 1997 alternative rock radio melodies her singing is quite tormenting. The slinky, sultry grooves and druggy sneer in “Totp” and “The Two of Us” reeks of the studio pop song-craft once taken to the airwaves by the likes of Garbage and the Cardigans. This aesthetic carries over from the songs to the shitty slick Photoshop cover art. Everything about Little Pop Rock screams ‘90s alternative chic when a blast of ‘90s noise would do this brand of pop a lot of justice. These guys should know; they pioneered the sound.

--Chad Radford