Even if it has been used as a form of justification for entire genres full of bad music, the reliance on “attitude” to form the conceptual backbone of a particular musician’s persona is an almost welcome addition to the emotionally staid world of indie rock where displays of emotion in songwriting can almost be seen as an admission of defeat. Throughout their debut release, Suffrajett frontwoman Simi (apparently possessing so much attitude that her last name is unnecessary) leads her band in pursuit of its niche by exuding a blatant, and somewhat sleazy, sexuality, panting and cooing through their 12 arena-ready riff rockers. And more than anything, she and her band raise the question of just how far attitude can go in making a particular project viable.
Yet another of the New York revival bands, Suffrajett (mostly comprised of the aforementioned Simi and former Liz Phair collaborator Jason Chasko) seem destined to become the opening act for the Donnas, their brand of gritty overamped bubbleglam mixing with a variety of sexual come-ons that are more than capable of winning over those with a weak resistance for audio erotica and catchy riffs. And the songs themselves really aren’t too bad, either.
From the big menacing guitar growl of “C’mon” to the pseudo-girl group garage skonk of “The Drugs,” they can sound a bit like Tiffany fronting the Ramones and generally convince you that the two always belonged together. Throughout, the riffs are imaginative and vaguely memorable, coming across as utterly unpretentious and relentlessly single-minded.
Still, the shtick does wear a bit thin at times, as lyrics like “If you want it, come and get it/Come and get it, if you want it” and “C’mon baby, let’s go crazy” struggle to escape the apparent redundancy on repeated listens. Even so, the soulful and suggestive way that such lines are delivered give the album its personality and make such sentiments strangely appropriate, maintaining the sordid and unrefined spirit. In fact, they have more than a little in common with the hair metal generation, with the whiplash blues licks of “Sorrow” perfectly aping Led Zeppelin, and the Lita Ford-ish “Between You And Me” erupting with predictably ballsy threats (“I don’t want to be your dirty little secret no more”). They even throw in a power ballad (“Cry Baby”) to boot.
Overall, Suffrajett wins more points for style than substance, but it’s likely they wouldn’t have it any other way. They’re entirely upfront with their lack of subtlety and pretense, and if a band is going to rely mostly on attitude and loud, well-placed riffs, this form of posturing is obviously preferable to those who try to use angst or braggadocio as their conceptual calling card. In this case, at least, attitude is just about enough.
Written by Matt Fink.