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Spend The Night
The Donnas, if you don’t know, are a hard rock (and yes, that antiquated term very much applies here) quartet armed with a serious index of AC/DC riffs and a smattering of gauche girl-gone-wrong charm
Peter Murphy, 18 Mar 2003
Is a cliché still a cliché if it’s been inverted?
The Donnas, if you don’t know, are a hard rock (and yes, that antiquated term very much applies here) quartet armed with a serious index of AC/DC riffs and a smattering of gauche girl-gone-wrong charm. You might’ve caught their kitsch classic ‘40 Boys In 40 Nights’ on the tube. If so, you’ll know what to expect from this, their major label debut. Too slick to be equated with the late lamented Chicks, not quite rough enough to mix it with biker chic
big sis figures like L7 or Jennifer Trux or Kim Deal, they’re ’70s show revivalists intent on turning the strip club tables on the jocks. Today’s choice of meals is either sorority
house drinking contest anthems like ‘Take It Off’ and ‘Dirty Denim’, or bitch-slap put downs like ‘Who Invited You’.
Forget any Girlschool comparisons, this one goes further back. Close your eyes and it could be 1975 all over again, a fuzzy edged Sam Snort wet dream of August nights spent lounging around the mall in long sleeved t-shirts, flared jeans and keds, renting so-bad-they’re-great straight to video morality tales like The Foxes or Times Square, or else shotgunning Buds and reading Creem in the parking lot outside Kiss concerts.
But don’t let the glossy production wrongfoot you. The songs are jerrybuilt solder jobs comprised of rudimentary melodies, cast-iron riffs and regimented cowbell-abetted four-on-the-floor metres. The obvious reference point is of course The Runaways, although one suspects The Donnas lean more towards Lita Ford than Joan Jett.
In small doses Spend The Night rocks my frat house. Over the full 39 minutes I start to twitch. But believe me, as slumber party mix-tapes go, this is the bee’s knees, the wasp’s nipples, the collected erogenous zones of the western hemisphere.