Volume 2, Number 5 -- May, 1997
The ÜberGirlz - A Triumphant Second Effort
Have you ever sat up till two in the morning doing shots of Everclear with a beautiful woman? A woman who you just knew was later going to tear out your heart and feed it to you in a cream sauce? If you are able to answer yes to the above questions then you have no need for the Übergirlz' new CD release "Lick the Saw". If however, you haven't been lucky enough to share the charms of the previously mentioned combination. Run, don't walk, and buy the new 'girlz CD when it hits stores next week.
The 'girlz, who have previously released just one album, the anemic selling "My Dead Cat Fluffy" have at least realized their potential. On the this new disc, lead guitarist Anna Nails enters the pantheon of alternative guitar greats. From slow mournful wailing on "Laundry day" to the U2 flavored romp "Shrinkage" Nails' playing is at once delighted and somber. I haven't heard so much emotion wrung from a guitar since Hendrix was setting fire to his Stratocaster.
If Anna Nails were the best thing about this young band they would be very lucky indeed. As it is, she rates second to the incisive lyrics and bewitching voice of Kathy Pye. Pye, who is only 24, is just starting to come into her own as a songwriter. While parts of "Dead Cat Fluffy" tended to descend into the maudlin, reminding one of a high school diary. On the new album, songs such as "Girlzchool" walk the fine line between feminism and pornography. On the title track, a song more about the loneliness of suburban adolescence than the macabre lumber yard which is it's setting. Pye sings "You wanted the lips...you'll take the teeth... you wanted the flower...well here's the stink" and imparts it unimaginable depth and sincerity.
I was lucky enough to catch the Übergirlz' tour when came through San Jose last year and they previewed most of this album then. To say that they gave an energetic performance is an understatement. With Pye twirling maniacally about the stage like whirlwind on crank. Not to be outdone, Jancin half of the set hanging from the rafters by her feet (she announced herself as the world's only upside down bassist). Needless to say I wasn't expecting that sort of experience from the CD. I certainly wasn't expecting them to recreate the intensity of their stage rendition of "Carpet Bomb". Imagine my surprise when I arrived at the eighth track on the album and found myself gripping the arms of my chair from the sheer ferocity of the tune. These 'girlz have managed in one album to surpass the best work of such seasoned veterans as the Ramones and the Sex Pistols.
Bassist Marsha Jancin and drummer Heidi Pommard, anchor the album with power playing that just won't stop. Put away the breakables when you put this CD in your changer because even ballads such as "You Love Me, You Lose" will rock the bric-a-brac off the shelves.
As if to prove they aren't all leather and power tools. The 'girlz have taken on a rehab project of tremendous proportions. The last two songs on this disk are on homage to a songwriter whom Jancin calls "The most underrated composer of the late twentieth century." With their howling covers of "Mandy" and "I Write the Songs", the 'girlz pay tribute to Barry Manilow. When asked what precipitated this somewhat odd choice of cover music. Pye says, "We just felt that Barry's lyrics are truest to our band's spirit, in many ways Barry Manilow was the original Übergirl." The 'girlz claim they want to see Manilow someday get recognition he deserves. They have even talked about having Manilow sit in on their next album. With both of these covers, the 'girlz have taken Manilow's music to a place it has never been and some might say should never go. With power backbeats and screaming guitars, they lend a whole new urgency to the words "I need you today oh Mandy..."
With their latest effort the Übergirlz have burst upon the alternative scene fully formed. If you buy only one album this year, make it "Lick the Saw".