From the opening notes of “4Ever,” the snarling, riot grrl single that opens The Secret Life of the Veronicas, the Aussie exports tousle your hair, grin knowingly, and slam you against the wall. It’s all guilty, trashy fun, but there’s a small problem. Nothing on the Veronicas’s debut breaks any ground that hasn’t already been thoroughly plowed by more than one American artist—Avril Lavigne springs most readily to mind, but there are any number of equally acceptable answers. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve had about all I can take of precocious sexpots ripping off the Runaways—bratty pre-teens who master a few chords, swipe a few pages from their diaries, frame it all in a Lolita-lite package and watch the millions roll in. A thousand critical curses then upon twin sisters Jess and Lisa Origliasso for making these 12 cuts (11 originals and one cover, Tracy Bonham’s “Mother Mother”) so damned slick and irresistible. Such is the curse of professional chick-pop. There’s a punky sassiness to most of the album (which features co-writing credits from Our Lady Peace’s Raine Maida, Chantal Kreviazuk, pop-music anti-Christ Max Martin and Toby Gad), but, by and large, the Origliasso siblings are about as threatening as Jennifer Love Hewitt; “Everything I’m Not,” the unexpectedly tart “Secret,” “Revolution” and “Mouth Shut” all feel like the estrogenically inclined counterparts to the boy-toy confection that is the Click Five’s Greetings From Imrie House. The Secret Life of the Veronicas won’t ever be considered anything more than what it is: utterly disposable, shamefully enjoyable, and transparently unoriginal music that, in a just world, will spend its brief moment in the sun entertaining the 11 year olds who wouldn’t dare miss an episode of That’s So Raven.
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