Picks and Pans Review: Pure and Simple

updated 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/20/1994 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Joan Jett

The former Runaway and her backup band, the tough and tender Blackhearts, score big-time on their first album in over two years. Jelt's strength has always been her ability to see through rock's pretensions and just get down to the business of making noise. Her snarling, punk-lite anthems of the '70s and '80s reflected that passion, even when her manifesto began to fall into a three-chord rut. On Pure and Simple, power pop's original bad girl leaves that rut in the dust, savvily joining forces with her sonic progeny, members of the female punk acts Babes in Toyland and L7, plus Bikini Kill's Kathleen Hanna, all of whom guest here (the Jett-Hanna songs "Spinster" and "Rubber & Glue," seething with rage and humor, are standouts). Rather than overshadowing her, this younger blood serves to reinvigorate the underrated Jell, who spins out some of the most muscular tracks of her career. (Warner Bros.)

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