This Atlanta, Ga.-based all-girls quartet appears to be striving for the antithesis of popular girl bands before them like The Go-Gos' finely honed pop and the Bangles' full, glossy production.
With high-treble guitar riffs, Sid Vicious' on-and-off bass work, drumming akin to the Shaggs' Helen Wiggin and, most noticeably, tinny vocals oddly reminiscent of juvenile playground chants, the 15-song, 33-minute recording may have one of two effects on the listener. One: it can appeal to a person's inner—or overt—hipster sensibilities for all things obscure. Or, two: annoy one to the point of shutting off the album around track three ("Stop Stomp Stompin'"), or track seven ("Pussywillow"), at the latest.
This unrefined quality—which is almost certainly intentional on the parts of members Crook Kid, Minnie, Rusty and Bebe Coathanger (not to mention recorder/engineer Kris Sampson)—may translate well in an intimate live setting, but the album itself is more grating than gratifying. It might be a different story if The Coathangers were better musicians, which perhaps could give Scramble a Velvet Underground and/or Pixies appeal. Instead, these quirky rough edges come off as derivative and a bit careless, which is probably what they want you to think.
The Coathangers plays the Zootown Arts Community Center Wednesday, Nov. 3, at 8 PM. $5–$6 sliding cover.