Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners - Se7en (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners

Se7en (2006)


It's hard to sell me on a band with a female singer. It's not at all a sexist thing, but I'm really put off by a lot of female singers, especially when it comes to punk bands, so it takes something special to really get me to enjoy a band like Exene Cervenka and the Original Sinners, the latter-day outfit of X frontwoman Exene Cervenka.

Taking cues from such fellow female punk legends as Chrissie Hynde and Patti Smith, Cervenka tries to replicate more their swagger and gusto that both of those women possessed so strongly, rather than her own, which she was (and still is) heralded for in her days in X. The other, and more intangible element that both those women possessed, was a certain gravitas, that made people listen, and made people hang off every word so spitefully delivered.

To be frank, Cervenka doesn't have that on Se7en. Quite the unfortunate opposite. What replaces that gravitas and swagger that Hynde and Smith had is a level of boredom -- the boredom induced from almost every song on this album. It just doesn't have it. The songs come across sort of bland and uneventful, but at no real fault of the musicians accompanying Cervenka that make up the Original Sinners. The sound they play is just as deeply rooted in `70s punk as the rock ‘n' roll of 20 years earlier, but Cervenka's vocals over top kill the steam built up from the buzzsaw guitars and bouncy rhythms in songs like "Born Yesterday" and "Tavern Love."

The songs themselves are pretty varied as well, the aforementioned "Tavern Love" having that familiar country twang to the guitars, but as is the case with so many of the songs, the vocals sound both lazy and detached, hurting any momentum built up before they came into the picture. There's simply no getting around that unfortunate fact, and for that, the record, no matter the efforts of the guitarist, bassist, and drummer, never comes around.

Though their genres of music reside at the opposite end of the spectrum, I feel a Jay-Z quote, albeit slightly altered, sums this up quite nicely;

"No passion, I got no patience, I hate waitin'."