Chicago’s self-proclaimed sex rockers Bang! Bang! write songs that are, to borrow a line from a late-night dating service commercial, fun and flirty.
If Bang! Bang! were a lover, they would not be kind. They wouldn’t take you to a nice restaurant and end the evening with a peck on the cheek; they’d skip dinner altogether and head for the nearest alley. Still, there’s something about the band that oozes good old-fashioned Americana. Whether it’s Jack Flash’s rockabilly guitar riffs or Gretta Fine’s soft and tender backing “oohs” (both of whom happen to be former Duke City inhabitants; Jack was in Fever Hot!), there’s always something oddly wholesome.
Often bands that play a lot of three-chord songs get put into the category of low-talent genre whores (and usually deservedly so). However, even though there are many simple chord-based verses in the band’s repertoire, Bang! Bang! has the unmistakable talent to pull off a part-glam, part-punk and part-new wave mishmash that’s danceable but isn’t afraid to bare its teeth.
On their latest release, The Dirt That Makes You Drown (just released on April 10), the band seems to have finally captured their live show energy and charisma. The group draws on the chemistry between Flash and Fine (who trade-off lead singing duties and are also a bit of an item).
Flash has also proven that he can write his share of shredding guitar solos and Fine shows some surprising vocal range when she takes the lead. Drummer Nick Kraska stalks the rhythm with tons of toms, only to pounce with a squall of snare and crash when the chorus arrives.
As much fun as the new record is, there’s still no substitute for a Bang! Bang! show. It’s been long enough since their last visit to Albuquerque that the initially vivid images of Flash prancing around in pseudo-ladies’ attire and Fine playing the bass in her underwear have started to fade. Luckily, the band will be at the Launchpad for a 21-and-over show this Saturday, April 21. The evening will also feature local acts the Oktober People, Romeo Goes to Hell and The Gracchi. Cover is $5 at the door.