No one skews a melody nor boasts a feral scream to clench testicles quite as tightly as Kim Shattuck. Having recently concluded a spirited stint on bass with a reformed Pixies, The Muffs’ preposterously undervalued guitarist, vocalist and sole songwriting creative hub has reformed the band closest to her heart to unleash their first album in a decade.
And yes, it’s fantastic. Just as it should be. True, the band exist in a state of near Ramonic artistic stasis, yet with a modus operandi this faultless, a ‘formulaic’ accusation is rendered more complimentary than derisory. It’s not as good as their eponymous ’93 debut, but then again, what is? But for Warners focussing on Green Day rather than their harder-to-market, femme-fronted label-mates, The Muffs might well have been as big as Dookie (it certainly had the songs).
The Los Angelean trio’s singularly salt ‘n’ sweet, Brill Building popcore can have a tendency to be overly complex (as a one-woman Lennon-McCartney, Goffin-King, Kim could sometimes do with countering chalk to her cheese: editing, honing, crafting, smoothing), that said, it’s the spikes, barbs, caterwauls and tantrums that define The Muffs, set them apart, and make Whoop Dee Doo as essential an album as any you’ll hear all year.