July 16, 2009

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Miss Derringer, Winter Hill
Nickel & Dime Records, June 23

’50s music is so safe from hate nowadays it’s like 1980 all over again. Tying on a little Roy Orbison/Everly Brothers gives bands like Raveonettes carte blanche to be uneventful, not that they ever are, OK, bad example — then you have things like this, an L.A. act hoping to parlay the combination of Pulp Fiction-soundtrack notions and hot-blonde-in-vinyl bric-a-brac into — what, something that’ll revolutionize the particle physics of naughty nurse costumes?

Not that there’s anything hugely wrong with Miss Derringer, aside from some obvious woodenness on the part of singer Liz McGrath, probably owing to mike-fright in the recording studio or someone in charge being a fricking crab. Like Gwen Stefani fronting the first effort from a Stray Cats Mini-Me, her sound is colorful if a bit constricted by both the engineering and the confines of the lyrics, say Ting Tings gone goth, i.e. the musical equivalent of canned laughter, safely unadventurous in spite of the glammy getups and blah-de-blah about razorblades and pretty boys B+EWS