Illuminati Hotties

Let Me Do One More

Sarah Tudzin's latest is fun, free and catchy as hell, finds Aug Stone

Illuminati Hotties fulfil a promise that has always been hinted at by indie rock. That it could be truly joyous, as exciting and catchy as your favourite punk anthems, and delivered accordingly, not bogged down in ‘too cool for school’ bullshit. Sarah Tudzin bounds through her songs with such an enormous sense of melody and fun, there’s no room for self-conscious posturing, she’s too busy tossing her inner monologues out to be transformed into party games.

Opening track ‘Pool Hopping’ illustrates this perfectly. Through its three minutes of jaunty guitars, Sarah celebrates breeziness: the title activity, window shopping, stealth make-outs, driving around getting ice cream and take-out breakfast. It makes you think maybe some of the best things in life really are free, only requiring a little daring. Breezy, not shallow, it should be clarified, for all this is happening while the narrator is wondering if her relationship is “over, over, over”.

Tudzin also has a knack for crafting the mightiest of earworms. For those of us seduced by last year’s ‘freequent letdown’, from FREE I.H: This Is Not The One You’ve Been Waiting For, playing it over, over, over, such infectiousness is matched by track two on Let Me Do One More. ‘MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA’s angular verses shift to sheer exuberance for its chorus, finishing the song even more frantically after a key change. It’s on this tune where we hear just what broad strokes Tudzin paints with her voice – each line given its own specific inflection in this circus of mockery.

It’s not all fun & games, however. While Tudzin’s lyrics help to conjure up her singular, intriguing worldview – ‘Pool Hopping’s “Spitting my teeth into their hand, you’re twisted like an ampersand” or ‘MMMOOOAAAAAYAYA’s hilarious “I’m so sad I can’t do laundry” – it’s the straightforward chorus of fourth song, ‘Threatening Each Other re: Capitalism’ that’s the most memorable and hard hitting. “The corner store is selling spit, bottled up for profit, I can’t believe I’m buying in, isn’t that genius?” A perfect indictment of the state of the world.

It is these three songs that, in their hugeness, tend to overshadow the rest of the record on initial listens. Though the remaining tracks should not be missed or dismissed because of that. There are many other moods for Sarah Tudzin to put her unique stamp on. Many slower numbers too. ‘u v v o’ (featuring Buck Meek) is a dreamy slice of 60s country-tinged pop, while ‘The Sway’, perhaps the most conventional song of the bunch, is also the most romantic, and wonderfully so. You can tell ‘Joni: LA’s No. 1 Health Goth’ is going to be big fun by its title, and it does not disappoint, evoking The Ramones and Le Tigre blasting their way through Van Halen’s ‘Top Jimmy’. Though, if we’re going to bring other bands into it, The Breeders and Blast Off Country Style are better overall touchstones. ‘Cheap Shoes’ is a return to the energy of the beginning of the record. And since this really has been a party, ‘Growth’ is the comedown song, as out comes the acoustic guitar to lament the adult responsibility lurking around morning’s corner.

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