The Muffs: Whoop Dee Do (Cherry Red, Burguer, 2014)

Uno de los discos más esperados de este año era el regreso de The Muffs. Kim, Ronnie y Roy, ahora trío, siguen por la senda del Pop de influencia más Punk (sé que hay muchos que se me enfadan al escribir ésto, pero no sé como describirlo mejor). Su sexto trabajo de estudio. Un disco en el que verdaderamente no realizan nada que no hubieran realizado anteriormente, pero eso sí, lo hacen de una forma tan sublime, tan genial y tan apreciable, que es imposible no acercarse a este Whooop Dee Do sin una mueca de aprobación y de cariño. Pero, ojo, que este disco es un auténtico álbum de The Muffs: Pop acelerado, Hardcore y distorsión a saco, ironías y melodías auténticamente irresistibles: Werd boy next door, Paint by numbers, Like you don´t see me, Take a take a me, Where did I go wrong… son excusas perfectas para no perder la fe en el Pop. Para completar, algunos de los mejores momentos son aquellos en los que el trío levanta algo el pie del pedal del overdrive, como en las magníficas Cheezy, Forget the day, I get it o Forever.
Ese balance entre ternura y rabia post-adolescente continúa funcionando en esta banda de cuasi cincuentones, y éso unido a la madurez que les otorga componer temas de gran calibre es algo que le otorga un encanto irresistible a este disco.

“Kim Shattuck takes a quick breath at the beginning of the Muffs‘ first new album in 10 years, then picks up exactly where she and the band left off–snarling, very tunefully, about a boy, verse-chorus-verse, ooh-ooh-ooh, WAAAAUUUGH. That’s also exactly where the Muffs began. There is scarcely a more consistent band in all of American pop-punk; singer-guitarist Shattuck and bassist Ronnie Barnett have been Muffs since 1991, and drummer Roy McDonald is the new kid, having joined in 1994. Nothing on Whoop Dee Doo would have been out of place on any of their five earlier records.
And that’s saying a lot, actually: they haven’t slowed down or softened their attack, or lost their way with tune-construction. Even Shattuck’s voice remains barely touched by time. The scratchy sleepless-night tone she used to reserve for her bloodthirsty end-of-verse howls has crept into most of the rest of her singing, although it’s not unwelcome. (As for her habit of inserting little glottal stops into syllables that go on for more than one note—”yoo, oo, ou”—that’s more of an acquired taste.)
The Muffs apparently never really broke up, although they spent a while out of the public eye; their biggest recent exposure came when Shattuck was Kim Deal‘s stand-in for the Pixies for six months last year. That role didn’t last, but it was an inspired choice on the Pixies’ part: the Muffs’ instrumental sound had, and still has, more in common with the Pixies than with most of their grunge-era contemporaries. Their songwriting, on the other hand, is very different (they’re writing much better songs than the Pixies are these days, too), and it’s veryheavily inspired by ’60s rock ‘n’ roll. Specifically, mid-’60s British rock’n’roll. More specifically,the BeatlesRubber Soul.
Shattuck doesn’t often telegraph the resemblance, and the band’s growl-and-bash obscures it, but if you’re listening for Beatles-of-’65 nods, they’re all over Whoop Dee Doo. “Like You Don’t See Me” might as well be an answer song to “You Won’t See Me”, “Where Did I Go Wrong” recasts the unpredictable phrasing and two-step beat of “I’ve Just Seen a Face” as hardcore, and the first song they released from the new record, “Up and Down Around”, has a vague resemblance to “Girl” underscored by deadpan “dit-dit-dit-dit” backing vocals. “Cheezy” reaches back a little further—it’s “I Should Have Known Better” (the opening harmonica solo is the tipoff) by way of Nirvana‘s “Sappy,” and it’s got a stinging hook: “And I really liked you/Till I got to know you.”
That’s another big part of the Muffs’ charm: Shattuck’s perpetual balancing act between romantic vulnerability and indignant fury. “Take a Take a Me” sounds like a love song with a beat for frugging, but closer inspection reveals it to be a threat directed toward a rival (“she could never never never take a take a me—WHAAAAAAA!”) The album’s catchiest bridge begins “And I would like to strangle you or punch you in the face”. She reserves her most venomous slapdowns for variations on the “freaky little adolescent” she describes in “Because You’re Sad”, but there’s a lot to admire about a 51-year-old rocker’s enduring command of her own adolescent freakiness” (Pitchfork)

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