Album: Juliette & The Licks

You're Speaking My Language, HASSLE
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The Independent Culture

Pop has long been the American film stars' folly, a diversion from which few emerge with dignity intact. Just as no singer since has managed to switch medium with the aplomb of a Crosby or a Sinatra, so the reverse route is also littered with casualties. One thinks especially of Keanu's Dogstar, and, more recently, the cabaret aspirations of Kevin Spacey and Robert Downey Jr, all risible to some degree. Now it's the turn of Juliette Lewis, who has transferred her expertise at depicting shrieking wild-child harpies to a music project that allows her to, well, shriek like a wild-child harpy. Or "another reckless little ingénue", as she puts it in the track "You're Speaking My Language". She claims the new-wave lineage of Talking Heads, Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith - but this is Patti Smith without the poetry, Lewis's wracked, ranting delivery applied to lyrics that, in the main, have hidden shallows. The closest that she comes to significance is the sloganeering diatribe "American Boy", an atta

Pop has long been the American film stars' folly, a diversion from which few emerge with dignity intact. Just as no singer since has managed to switch medium with the aplomb of a Crosby or a Sinatra, so the reverse route is also littered with casualties. One thinks especially of Keanu's Dogstar, and, more recently, the cabaret aspirations of Kevin Spacey and Robert Downey Jr, all risible to some degree. Now it's the turn of Juliette Lewis, who has transferred her expertise at depicting shrieking wild-child harpies to a music project that allows her to, well, shriek like a wild-child harpy. Or "another reckless little ingénue", as she puts it in the track "You're Speaking My Language". She claims the new-wave lineage of Talking Heads, Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith - but this is Patti Smith without the poetry, Lewis's wracked, ranting delivery applied to lyrics that, in the main, have hidden shallows. The closest that she comes to significance is the sloganeering diatribe "American Boy", an attack on the "frat boys, military toys" that operate Bush's war-machine, which sounds like a discarded out-take from Green Day's last album. The meagreness of her ambitions is inherent in the nature of The Licks, whose brittle buzz-saw guitars and four-square drums are aimed at fulfilling the guitar-rock brief with as little originality as possible.

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