Soul Mama #1 struts and shouts over wham-bam drumming and jerky, quirky blues guitar. Destined to have all the kids screaming.
Restraint and polish have their virtues, but the Gossip's first full-length preaches a powerful sermon on the value of raw, honest emotion and reckless abandon. Part of the power of their message lies in the simplicity of its delivery. Limiting themselves to vocals, guitar, and drums, with absolutely no studio wizardry, first names only in liner notes, and a total running time of less than 25 minutes, this threesome has no tolerance for non-essentials. Guitarist Nathan and drummer Kathy lay down a stripped-down retro sound somewhat reminiscent of the Flat Duo Jets
, providing singer Beth with a perfect pulpit from which to deliver her frank discourses on lesbian love, lust, and leverage. Highlights include opener "Swing Low," the back-to-back "Where the Girls Are" and "Bring It On," and the closer, "Hott Date." While this CD's 14 tracks aren't incredibly diverse, they do pack a wallop, and fans of no-frills garage rock and raw, lo-fi blues should definitely give it a listen. --Steve Halloran