Sunday, February 25, 2007

Ooh, SNAP!

Mess Up the Mess, You Remind Me of Summer Vacation, Paroxysm

My friends say you're cute
You're just my style
You've got a cherry scooter and a winning smile
You've got rave reviews, but I don't believe the hype
Honey, you're not my Myers-Briggs Type!

-- "You're Not My (Myers-Briggs) Type"

Mess Up the Mess is an appropriate name for this DC quartet's smart alecky punk-pop. Not that they sound messy--loose is a better word--but their name brings to mind the B-52s ("Dance This Mess Around"), and there's just as much "bounce to their ounce," to paraphrase Zapp (although I think Roger Troutman may have had something more salacious in mind). Further comparisons to Delta 5, the Go-Gos, and Le Tigre would not be misplaced.

That said, You Remind Me of Summer Vacation isn't quite new wave or even new new wave. It's lighter than NYC's Yeah Yeah Yeahs, but heavier that Portland's All Girl Summer Band. In other words, it's somewhere between the two and beholden to neither.

Elizabeth's subjects include personality typing ("You're Not My Myers-Briggs Type"), racism ("Crystal Pools"), feminism ("F-Bomb"), and pop stars ("Morrissey Already Ate"). The bassist is joined by vocalist/keyboard player Jeanni, drummer Julie, and guitar slinger Matt (no last names, please). All shout along.

There's a fine line between clever and novel, as in novelty. On their smart and sassy debut, I'm pleased to report that Mess Up the Mess remain firmly on the right side of it. Long may they rave.

He would tell you not to be foolish
Better to be sullen and mulish
The only way to keep your heart unbroken
Is to leave these words unspoken.

-- "Morrissey Already Ate"

Endnote: "Ooh, SNAP!" comes from "Esprit de Lescalier." Click here to sample "Esprit," "Myers-Briggs," and "Ton of Bricks." Images from the official MUtM site and The Washington City Paper.

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