By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
The Dishes serve up the kind of snotty, snarly, stop-start garage punk that's enjoyed a minor vogue of late, thanks to successive Next Big Things the Strokes, the Hives, the Vines (see above) and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Indeed, the dirt-rock cognoscenti will no doubt cleave to this female-fronted Chicago quartet on the basis of its guitar sound alone: Sarah Staskauskas' and Kiki Yablon's filthy, fuzz-coated riffs howl, thunder and groan with the requisite '70s Detroit grime/glam grandeur. With songs about jailbait, groupies and crankin' the Troggs (on eight-track, natch), the Dishes obviously understand the power of "getdown gutbucket rock and roll" (to borrow a phrase from its greatest defender, Lester Bangs).
What keeps the Dishes from the empty retro posturing so prevalent among their peers is soul and smarts. On their second full-length, 1-2 (released on No. 89 Records), they make you wonder what Wire might have sounded like if they'd been given sex-change operations and transplanted to a Midwestern garage (and, no, the answer isn't Elastica). Singer Staskauskas sneers along with the best of 'em: "Do you need some sex to be sexy?" she asks on the lethally catchy opening track, simultaneously mocking and reveling in the glorious idiocy of the id. It's a captivating contradiction, rock and roll, and the Dishes aren't looking to dismantle it. Quite simply, they rock--unironically, unapologetically, unequivocally--and if you wanna derive from this fact some kind of fashionable postmodernish feminist argument, well, that's your prerogative, but it's really not the point.
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