splendid > reviews > 9/15/2003
Some Girls
Some Girls
Feel It

Format Reviewed: CD

Soundclip: "Robot City"

Buy me now
Juliana Hatfield didn't name her new band Some Girls as an homage to the Stones. Don't bother asking Hatfield, her Blake Babies drummer Freda Love, or bassist Heidi Gluck (The Pieces) if they are American girls who want everything in the world you can possibly imagine. They would probably just sneer at you. They do a lot of that. They do it well. In fact, Feel It's strength comes from pitting the sneer and strut of a really great three-piece against the cotton-candy softness of Hatfield's voice. She is not quite the lost little girl of the Shame About Ray backing vocals, but there is still a cloud of sweetness over her voice, which she takes great satisfaction (again, not in a Stones kind of way) in lacing with poisonous cynicism. Isn't it cyanide that smells like sweet almonds just before you pass out?

Consider "The Prettiest Girl", built on a raunchy, garagey guitar riff straight out of the Nuggets series. That dirty vibe is undercut by glorious, girl on girl harmonies, jubilant "Hey, heys" and the melting warm flow of Hatfield's voice. Or is it? The lyrics, so demurely delivered, gradually shade darker; here is the girl washing down donuts with beer, there she is avoiding dirty old men, and finally, as the guitar crunches onward, we are left to wonder if something really bad happened to her.

"Necessito" follows on a robotic beat of bass and electric keys. It's the single, the cut most obviously tooled and retooled for the teenagers, and while it stands out on first listen, it quickly fades on repeat ones. Much better is the slinky croon of "Almost True", Hatfield's pure, unfettered voice taking on a country-ish twang in a tale of settling for a guy whose heart is elsewhere. There's even a harmonica, courtesy of Heidi Gluck, to take us out of indie suburbia and into the heartland. Then it's back into jaded strip-mall America for "Robot City", one of the album's highlights, with its wry observations on empty consumer culture. It's supported by a great bubbling keyboard and the laid-back slash of Hatfield's guitars. The music, like the words, is detached and cool.

At their best, Some Girls can sound like the Stones fronted by Margo Timmins of the Cowboy Junkies -- a contradictory mix of rough, passionate instrumentals and airy, unconcerned vocals. It's an unusual combination, but it works surprisingly well, especially on the disc's final track, a cover of Robert Johnson's "Malted Milk". Hatfield's voice slides like ice water down the notes, twining through the blues chords like an angel of mercy, piano tinkling way up high like it comes from the world's smallest roadhouse. It's slow and sweet and gorgeous and nothing at all like the original -- but that is, just this once, so much more than okay.



Brian Cherney

Tomas Korber


The Rude Staircase

Dian Diaz



The Crimes of Ambition

Karl Blau


Gary Noland

Tommy and The Terrors


Bound Stems

Gary Noland

Carlo Actis Dato and Baldo Martinez

Quatuor Bozzoni

The Positions

Comet Gain

Breadfoot featuring Anna Phoebe

Secret Mommy

The Advantage

For a Decade of Sin: 11 Years of Bloodshot Records

The Slow Poisoner

Alan Sondheim & Ritual All 770



Five Corners Jazz Quintet

Cameron McGill

Drunk With Joy

10 Ft. Ganja Plant

The Hospitals

Ross Beach

Big Star

The Goslings

Lair of the Minotaur

Koji Asano

Splendid looks great in Firefox. See for yourself.
Get Firefox!

Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste probably didn't even know that he'd be the subject of Jennifer Kelly's final Splendid interview... but he is!

That Damn List Thing
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo
Pointless Questions
File Under
Pointless Questions
& - The World Beyond Your Stereo

Read reviews from the last 30, 60, 90 or 120 days, or search our review archive.

It's back! Splendid's daily e-mail update will keep you up to date on our latest reviews and articles. Subscribe now!
Your e-mail address:    
All content ©1996 - 2011 Splendid WebMedia. Content may not be reproduced without the publisher's permission.