Ms Led - These Things We Say
"Ms Led would especially like to thank anyone who stands up front or dances at our shows, feminists, queers, lefties and all who will not or did not vote for George Bush"
With a statement like that, Ms Led can hardly be accused of being coy about their politics. No, they're going to shout about them and, to be harsh, it's not the most difficult position to take, is it? And thanks to the voters 'recent actions', we've probably got another four years of this sort of thing. Thanks. Anyway, as it's only been a decade or so since the much maligned 'riot grrrl' movement transformed itself into something called Girl Power, here we have a band attempting to do very much the same sort of thing as the earlier bands. To be fair, they don't do that bad a job.
The only trouble with this band is that they don't offer anything new. It's very much in the mould of straightforward rock outfits - heavy bass lines and sprinklings of power chords like a sort of pop Pixies or Like Sleater-Kinney, without the hooks. There's some innovation on offer in songs like 'Keep On The Outside', with it's keyboard led melody with smudges of fuzz guitar dotted about here and there. Now, having criticised their lack of innovation, it has to be said that when they're on form, they're capable of producing some great noise. Opening track, 'Stigma' not only sets out their stall politically, it's a lovely blast of noise that reeks of quality - it's got a slight hip-hop feel to it, with it's simple drum sound and fat, fuzzy chorus. 'Killed Me Dead' is another where you get the impression that somewhere here there's a great band forming and finding their feet. It's jagged guitar lines juxtaposed with the crashing chorus is so nearly a classic track. At times, they're quite frustrating - Lesli Wood has a superb voice, and gives the band a really distinctive feel but musically, they're quite limited and not by their own talent. If only they'd provide some of the off-the-wall eclectic thrills provided by Erase Errata or the wonderful Le Tigre, both of which are slightly similar but sound ten years ahead of Ms Led.
This is a quality album, though, and despite the slightly old-hat approach there are some great pop songs on here. 'And Now We Know', with it's beyond clichéd Russian folk melody structure is a huge mistake, though and does the flow of the album no favours. It sticks out a mile and produces audible groans. Luckily, it's followed by the great 'Small Change' but still.... Anyway this is a good album, but not a great one. Worth a listen if you’re a fan of the aforementioned Le Tigre or just pine for another 'Riot Grrl' band. The band are undoubtedly talented and very likely a formidable live presence and, lets just say we'd expect a much better album next time round and probably won't be disappointed.