Considering the advance storm of publicity Morningwood has generated for its eponymous debut, you’d think this New York quartet was no less than an ‘06 version of The Strokes. Over the course of the first two songs from Morningwood, you may be less awe-struck and more likely wondering about all the fuss. It becomes clear with “Nth Degree,” a thoroughly absurd and self-referential piece of glammed-up pseudo-dance-pop—it’s the catchiest track on the album, which is almost worth picking up for this song alone. The gloriously debauched vibe is never recaptured and consequently, the disc suffers. That’s not to say that Morningwood doesn’t attempt to win you over anyway. A fiery Debbie Harry disciple, sweet n’ sassy lead singer Chantal Claret occasionally sounds like a highly pissed Kim Deal, only she lacks Deal’s conviction. And therein lies the major flaw in Morningwood’s design: All sneer and no soul, it’s slick, hedonistic rock that says a lot and means little. Hell, even the sex-drenched slow burner “Take Off Your Clothes” feels strained—how do you screw up nymphet come-ons? Sure, Morningwood is trashy, enjoyable, and utterly insignificant entertainment, but so is shotgunning a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon. Either way, you’ll end up with a headache, a few less bucks, and a vaguely hollow feeling inside.
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