Picks and Pans Review: The Menace

updated 08/28/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/28/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Elastica (Atlantic)

It has been five years since Elastica put out an album, and their new postpunk disc can be seen as a collection of snappy rebuttals to those who had written them off. On the catchy opener "Mad Dog," the sextet's lead vocalist Justine Frischmann, best known for her "Connection" video, barks, "Don't need a credit card to make my charge complete/ Don't want you on your back I just got on my feet." Among her many attributes, Frischmann sports the gnarliest sneer this side of Billy Idol.

At times, Elastica may remind you of Chrissie Hynde or Blondie, but there are plenty of original touches: keyboards that sound like a hail of bullets, the otherworldly digitized tones on "My Sex," Frischmann's hushed confession to an old beau ("When you were poor/ And I just liked you more"). The group even covers Trio's quirky "Da Da Da" (which became a Volkswagen jingle). Although The Menace offers a hodgepodge of musical styles, it also signals Elastica's emergence as an improved, mature unit. And it took them only half a decade.

Bottom Line: Snarly fun well worth the wait

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