The Muffs - Whoop Dee Doo
There are some acts who take you on a creative journey, ask you to join them as they explore the musical frontiers of space and time, leading to the inevitable jazz odyssey. There are others who have a sound and stick with it, knowing to veer too much off track is to rob them of the magic that made them great in the first place. It's why there's no acoustic double album in the AC/DC catalogue or few years that Motorhead fans discuss quietly as Lemmy's 'reggae period'. So it is with The Muffs. Six albums in - but their first in a decade - Whoop Dee Doo sees Kim Shattuck and friends deliver twelve more slices of their peerless pop punkery. It's like they've never been away, but it's still good to have them back.
Shattuck's songwriting has always been cleverer than it might first appear. Not for The Muffs the endless recycling of riffs and melodies of their contemporaries, she instead finds tunes that are more redolent of sugary Broadway musicals, or bubblegum Top 40 radio, which adds to their nagging playability. So while Whoop ... continues a format that began over 20 years ago, it's no less addictive, or indeed enjoyable, than it was way back then. The Beatles pastiche of 'Cheezy' is a standout, alongside the playful 'Take a Take a Me', yet the reality is that there is no such thing as a 'bad' Muffs track - if you like what they do, you tend to like everything they do. Do yourself a favour: slap ten quid down on the counter and take a copy of Whoop ... home - the resultant smile will last all summer.