The circus has come home to Popopia and we're all invited, courtesy of gurlee-punkers Battershell. The adventurous trio from New York City are back with "Luv Punks", a return to the "non-mundania world of fantasy and frolic". The U.S.S. Battershell has witnessed some serious crew changes since the release of their EP "Beautiful Princess of Spit" in 1995, the year they were signed to NG Records. After gigging around New York and touring the U.S. they released their debut full length album "Sunshine on Popopia" in 1997. Trapped in their urban environment the band: singer/songwriter/guitarist Tammy Lynn Fulkerson, bass/vocals Hannah Head, and drummer Charlie Lauth, seeked to escape into a utopia of their own making. Based on Tammy Lynn's personal experiences, the fifteen songs on the new album will probably ring true for the many patriotic Americans raised on country and western music. Reminiscent of The Muffs, Veruca Salt, and, at times, Jane's Addiction, the drawling lyrics and rockin' melodies constitute a pop-punk meatloaf sandwich with a little mayhem on the side.
While Tammy Lynn has claimed no affinity for Meat Loaf; Johnny Cash, Ace Frehley and Jimmy Page are definitely on her plate. Her impressive vocal range and solid guitar playing have earned Battershell much adulation as they've been showcased at industry festivals and events such as South By Southwest (two years running), Foundations Forum '96, CMJ Music Conference, and the Macintosh Music Fest. Battershell performs two of their songs on the soundtrack for the movie "Ripe", and have contributed a cover of Bow Wow Wow's "I Want Candy" for the Elektra Records one hit wonder compilation.
Although the upbeat energy and bounce of this album is appealing in a Ramones-y kind of way, it all starts to sound the same after a while. And the lyrics are way too literal, as in : "My chords are tangled, this tone really sucks on my guitar. These cheap effects keep on buzzing, pissing me off." The rangy guitar and bizarre sound effects seem very promising, but the high pitched vocals sour the sauce. Water in the whiskey, if ya know what I mean. The real gem on this album however, is the enthusiastic, trans-gendered cover of Billy Idol's hit "White Wedding".
Recommended Tracks: "White Wedding", "Dizzy The Tattooed Dog", and the hidden song six minutes into the final track (Battershell's answering machine and a couple of hot little ditties at the end)
By Christine Leonard
Jul 24, 2001