The punk girls next door
Jennifer and Jessica Calvin are sisters in blood and garage rock; Bleached is just the collective name the duo goes by these days. The siblings’ third studio album Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? showcases the type of cheeky, bubblegum pop-punk that suits the ladies best: the carnival of hard-pounding drums, ceaseless power chords and cream-soda-sweet vocals summon the rich history of female punk furies. Within that history there is a place for the gals should they stay the course.
Having flexed their muscles in lo-fi groups like Mika Miko throughout pop-punk’s heyday years, the Los Angeles-based sisters are primed to draw attention back to the genre. Why not? Alt-pop acts are thriving on the charts at the moment and people have been craving a second garage rock revival. A garage rock revival led by women sounds mighty fine. Jennifer and Jessica suggest this in their latest record, and they do it with style, grace and in-your-face rock music.
If the throbbing drums in the opening track “Heartbeat Away” don’t get your attention perhaps the alluring dance groove in the following track “Hard to Kill” will. By the time you are listening to the richly-layered vocals in the pop chorus of “Daydream,” you are hooked indeed. The charm of the tracks is that they are unpretentious, seemingly sprung from a teenage girl’s crumpled up poems. The fifth track “Somebody Dial 911” is a perfect example of the sisters’ playful songwriting: the lyrics are fun, the echoing guitar chords vibrant and the drum work from Spencer Lere stupendous.
Frontwoman Jennifer Calvin delivers her vocals in the ninth song of the record “Valley to LA” in such a relatable and engaging way that she triggers the Gwen Stefani effect: through her voice, Calvin becomes the girl every girl loves and every boy really loves. The album’s last three tracks fizzle out of their pop a bit and get real raw. The final track “Shitty Ballet” embraces the girl next door vibe with acoustic guitars easily imagined being strummed near a bedroom window. By the end of that last track, a hard rock explosion has overtaken the listener and left a lasting impression.
Don’t You Think You’ve Had Enough? is the first record the girls admit to having recorded entirely sober and it shows in their work. The sisters are abandoning the crunchy indie rock of their previous records for a style that complements them, a style that has some delightful pop to it. For the girl with the wrong high school crush or the guy with the tomboy best friend he loves, this record is for them and everyone else too.