The Veronicas - Hook Me Up
The Veronicas’ second album finally makes it to UK shelves, inexplicably delayed from June. Makes sense to me. After all, releasing it when the mighty 'Untouched' was all over the place would have been too obvious for words. All those pesky sales. Tsk. For what it is, it's rather fine. Forgive the fence-sitting qualification, won't you ? 'Hook Me Up' is a highly efficient record, expertly pieced together and as sassy a slab of electro-rock as I’ve heard this week. Its hooks are laser-guided, trust me - they will get you whether you like it or not. Just give in, that's my advice. If it seems to you that 2009 has required of the more discerning pop fan the ability to distinguish between Girls Who Do Smart Candy Pop and Girls Who ... just wanna have fun, 'Hook Me Up' draws a distinct line in the sand. Hear that creaking ? That's the gate swinging shut.
Are we all in ? Okay. Because I've seen it with my own eyes, I know the Origliasso twins are an absolute sensation live and therefore I come to 'Hook Me Up' with something of an open mind. Nagging concerns that, production-wise, it's a little cold can be parked when you see what Jess and Lisa can do with just a three piece band behind them. But who gives a flying fig, really ? Give in, give in, I say. What do you want ? Pedal steel and slap bass ?
The songs ? No surprises. 'Untouched' remains so but a few corkers come tantalisingly close. The zippy rockers are punctuated by slowies - breathy opening and a chorus that takes flight on a barrage of power chords. Every now and then I fall apar- sorry, every now and then I'm reminded of Roxette, to be perfectly frank. Not ideal but you pays your money. 'Hook Me Up' is undeniably formulaic but because it embraces its MO with such gleeful abandon, I'll turn a blind eye. ‘I Can’t Stay Away’ apes Laura Brannigan’s ‘Self Control’ to great effect. I’m keeping certain spots soft for ‘All I Have’ and the marvellously bitchy ‘Revenge is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were)’. Don’t get mad, eh ? A quick rummage through the lyric sheet confirms they're as potty-mouthed as their live show suggested and that wronging either of them romantically would be a mistake of some magnitude.
My mate who did the 'in search of a better lifestyle' thing a while back tells me the girls used to hang out in the car park of Hungry Jacks (Australian for Burger King) in Aspley, Brisbane, play guitar and write songs together. I'm sure they did. But the shocking pink graphics employed on their CD covers is an absolute indicator of what you'll find inside and there are no Simon and Garfunkel covers, let me tell you. This is an album conceived by committee, assembled on a production line and spat out into the commercial ether like so much plastic being extruded. Now I couldn't give two hoots about that and, seeing as it's an absolute blast and nigh on impossible to resist, neither should you.