The Soviettes - LPIII (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

The Soviettes

LPIII (2005)

Fat Wreck Chords

It's almost a shame that "Paranoia Cha Cha Cha" was the Soviettes' contribution to the widely distributed Rock Against Bush compilations. While thematically hitting the nail on the head, compared to the bulk of their latest record the track is just tragically normal. Competent little punk rock tunes are one thing; the brilliantly energetic, multi-voiced, smartly written two-minute masterpieces of LPIII are another entirely.

The album-opening "Multiply And Divide" sets the stage by making use of multiple female singers, group shouts in the chorus and drummer Danny's oddly distinctive vocals in the verses. Individually, these players could probably carry a band all on their own, but it's in the combination of their talents that the Soviettes surpass expectations. Think the B-52s without the camp, hanging with the Bowery crowd. "(Do) The Stagger" exemplifies this, matching up Danny's voice (in Fred Schneider's range for sure), with a Ramones-worshiping chorus. There's so much interplay packed into each track that I'll completely avoid the daunting task of determining whether it's Annie, Sturgeon, Suzy, or some combination thereof, singing at any given moment. "Roller Girls" is a delightfully weird, frenetic little song. The band at one point shouts in a taunting cheerleader chant "we're the weapons of mass destruction! Bomb's away!" That combination of absurdist, hyperactive songwriting with serious, at times political undertones reoccurs throughout the record, keeping LPIII grounded. "Together" sounds like a vintage Lookout! cut. With so much material in the spirit of the early 90's Berkley scene, it's entirely fitting that the Soviettes emerged from Billie Joe Armstrong's label. "How Do You Like It" is the high point of the album. At only a minute and a half, the track takes at least three distinct turns, distilling the band's quirks to their most essential components.

If you've been on board since the band's debut, orLPII, you'll find the Soviettes continuing with their established sound here. It's so well executed on LPIII that the lack of a real change in direction is a moot point. For fans of the sub-two minute punk song, of hyper energetic pop with one foot in the 70's (but not hampered by it), this is an essential summer soundtrack.