May 1, 2003

Test Spin: All Girl Summer Fun Band

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Depending on your outlook, the All Girl Summer Fun Band can be either delightfully twee or sickeningly cutesy. Personally, I’m squarely in the latter camp, but I suppose criticizing them for super-cheesy lyrics like “we’ll hold hands/ and I’ll get to see your underpants” is kind of missing the point. Their second album continues in the same vein as their first, delivering 14 songs of mildly punky girl-pop in just under a half-hour. It’s all about as heavy as a feather — hell, there’s even a song about parallel parking — but it is a pretty nice, thought-free pop record, which is what it all really aims for.

Like a more innocent version of the Donnas, all these girls really care about are boys, playing rock shows, and driving. Although most of the album descends into a blur of indistinguishable riffs and nice-but-unremarkable melodies, there are a few standouts. “Video Game Heart,” which is filled with squelching keyboards and unrelenting up-and-down guitars, is one of the few tracks to deliver the compact burst of fun promised by the band’s formula. And “Samantha Secret Agent” provides a sickly sweet dose of confectionary organs and lovely off-key harmonies. None of this is exactly essential, of course, but there’s plenty of fun and melody to recommend it to fans of this sort of stuff.

Archived article by Ed Howard