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[Off The Record]
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The Start

Unlike many of the bands who are attempting to resurrect the keyboard-driven pop sounds of the early ’80s through rote replication, California’s the Start (they prefer " theSTART " ) have opted to re-create the ebullient side of new wave with a 21st-century spark on this, their debut CD. The retro whispers echo loudly in catchy choruses buoyed by bouncing synthesizers and other computerized flourishes. Versatile vocalist Aimee Echo carries these songs with the cutesy swagger of a contemporary Martha Davis, Dale Bozzio, or Annabella Lwin. Her raspy yet sweet vocals range from sultry to pouting but always manage to grab the spotlight.

The band, with former members of the ’90s alterna-metal bands Snot and Human Waste Project, bring a modern-rock edge to bear on Echo’s new-wave routine, most obviously in the faintly industrial " Communion, " the hard-driving " Gorgeous, " and the guitar-driven " Nemesis, " which has enough slick riffing to conjure the guilty pleasure of a lost hair-metal classic. Indeed, for all its borrowings, Shakedown! fuses its various parts into an original-sounding whole.


Issue Date: August 23 - 30, 2001

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