The Muffs have released their first album in ten years, and it's far from disappointing. Stream Whoop Dee Doo above.
Formed in Los Angeles in 1991, The Muffs have released five other studio albums and have never strayed too far from their game. They are proving once again -- twenty years down the line -- that they remain deeply attached to their roots. With Whoop Dee Doo, they've managed to churn out another collection of ultra-catchy, punk-rock-meets-new-wave anthems for any day of the week. Kim Shattuck is now well past her adolescence (having also toured with the Pixies in 2013), but still maintains the same whimsical charm and earnestness. Perhaps indicated by the retro-inspired cover art, this release is laced with subtle nods to '60s rock and roll.
The album opens with "Weird Boy Next Door," and it's pure pop-punk bliss. Kim Shattuck's signature raspy-yet-youthful voice sings about a drunken lowlife kid wasting away in his bedroom, complete with much-appreciated intermittent screams. I can almost flash back to Cher Horowitz in Clueless, cruising through Beverly Hills in her lumped-out Jeep blasting this jam (instead it was The Muff's cover of Kim Wilde's "Kids in America," but that's close enough).
Things get vulnerable with "Like You Don't See Me," a song about unrequited love. The rasp in Kim's voice jumps to new heights as she wails, "Without you I'm no good." Kicking things back up a notch, "Take a Take a Me" is a clap-your-hands tune with a kickass bassline -- upbeat and fiesty -- topped with rash, indignant lyrics about fighting off the other women.
"Cheezy" is a mid-album standout, both for its toned-down approach and its harmonica bits. It's still angsty and has arguably the most infectious melody on the record -- a primordial angry girl anthem if there ever was one: "And I would like to strangle you or punch you in the face / Or take the high road, walk away, and put you in your place." The track also bears a striking resemblance to The Beatles' "I Should've Known Better." Immediately following, we slip into the daydreamy "Forget the Day," which includes carefree "ooh-la-la" backing vocals beneath Kim's call to laziness.
Shattuck further confronts the human condition in "Because You're Sad," dealing with the self-victimization of "freaky little adolescent" types. It sums up the feel of the whole album: one big reality check. Kim takes us through the ups and downs of everyday life, either shoving others' noses in the harsh truth or running away from it herself, and all the while she is unmistakably self-aware.
The album leaves off with "Forever," a hopeful love song: "Look at me, I'm smiling like I never did / I look at you and I can't help but thinking / That we're gonna be forever." Awwww.
Whoop Dee Doo is out now via Cherry Red / Burger Records. Get it now on Amazon.