By Jeremy Hallock
By James Khubiar
By Observer Staff
By Kelly Dearmore
By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
Christina Rees' voice hides nothing, maybe because she just doesn't know any better. Whether she's whispering a threat of violence or howling that she really is going to hold that gun to your head, Rees gives her all in every second of every powerful song. The pain is sincere, the anguish is real, the resolve is strong, and the revenge is sweet when the blood runs cold. You believe her not just because she makes you, but because this woman has demons the size of Big Tex, and she's just determined enough to kill 'em dead.
There's nothing easy about Triple Crown--from Rees' lyrics to the songs that seethe and surge and build to a dozen tiny climaxes--and therein lies the appeal: This is a band that means it. Rees doesn't offer up irony or poetry or apology, doesn't mince words: "I'd rather die than let you fuck me over like you do," she sings at the conclusion of this four-song tape over a drone that explodes into a clamor. "Option two sounds so much better since it involves me killing you." She sings like she has to, revealing everything with unabashed candor; rock and roll provides her catharsis, the guitar and microphone acting as her therapist and priest.
Alanis Morissette's idea of revenge is withholding a blowjob in the back of a movie theater; Christina Rees' brand of retribution comes packaged in sarcasm and unadulterated hatred and a hint of violence. If Rees sounds frustrated ("I thought I'd come out blazing, all hot and spewing fire and talkin' shit/What a shame I can't shoot straight") and fed-up ("I hit the ground running, trotting, walking, crawling, falling flat upon my face"), it's only because the music behind her doesn't provide much of a facade behind which she can hide.
Suddenly, from nowhere, each song collapses into weary distortion and noise; it's as if the melodies simply collapse underneath their own ballasts and the weight of the world Rees shrugs off her tiny shoulders. What could easily have been a band that impresses strictly because of lineage--the rhythm section features Brave Combo's drummer Joe Cripps and ex-Baboon bassist Bart Rogers--ends up belonging to the no-longer-unknown frontwoman who's tougher than any boy in any band.
Toys from the Basement
On lyrics alone, "Summer Job" makes a decent enough Green Day song: A boy makes some extra pocket change by parking cars, goes home to watch TV until 3 in the morning, realizes he's tired of just scraping together enough money to pay the bills, then takes it out on his old man. But Green Day these boys aren't. Hell, they ain't even Great White.