Elastica The Menace (Atlantic)

The Menace (Atlantic)

Record Reviews

Elastica

The Menace (Atlantic)

When Elastica first washed up on these shores six years ago with their commercially viable take on Wire's angular punk, Americans were utterly charmed. Who could resist the sight of vocalist/ guitarist Justine Frischmann mouthing the lyrics to "Stutter" (an emasculating paean to flaccidity, no less) with that alluring sneer of hers? But shortly after securing a slot on the '95 Lollapalooza tour, Elastica imploded and disappeared amid a myriad of lineup changes and rumors of drug use. It would be nice to say The Menace picks up where their self-titled debut left off, but the new album's morose lack of energy and foresight render it a mere skeleton of what came before. Tunes like "Image Change" and "Your Arse, My Place" sport decent enough hooks, but the band rarely bothers to convert those hooks into a solid song. The sing-song letter game of "How He Wrote Elastica Man" doesn't even get that far. Despite the long wait, The Menace smacks of smug, tossed-off pretension. What else could explain the inclusion of a by-the-numbers remake of Trio's "Da Da Da"? Today's lesson is an important one: Don't ever let your artistic license write a check your songs can't cash.

**

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