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The Veronicas: Hook Me Up

The Veronicas: Hook Me Up

Release Date:2008

By Ian Grey | Posted 6/18/2008

With the Veronicas' sophomore CD, it's clear that the only things stopping twin Aussie singer/songwriters Lisa and Jessica Origliasso from escaping the teen-pop ghetto is their own marketing, people's genre prejudices, and the loaned "authenticity" of some Approved Rock Male (think Tim Armstrong with Pink).

But we digress. Behind the vintage synths, electro beats, and super-massive guitar growls supplied by producers/writers Toby Gad, Billy Steinberg, and Greg Wells, the main takeaway of Hook Me Up is an exhilarating brand of unposed female anger. It isn't Courtney Love's self-immolating rage, PJ Harvey's dyspeptic intelligentsia, or Pink's empowering ire, but something more nuanced, more, well, adult. (They are 23 now.)

Mood-defining songs such as "Revenge Is Sweeter (Than You Ever Were)" and the breakneck 175-bpm electro-metal-pop piss-off "This Is How It Feels" traffic in catchy punkish wrath. But elsewhere, bewilderment, anxiety, and desperation are co-equal shading emotions.

Flaunting teen-pop market requirements, the Origliassos' vocals are unprocessed, in your face, and t.A.T.u.-level melodramatic. "Untouched" is a year's-best-single contender. All manic talk-singing, sawed anxious cellos, Giorgio Moroder-y beats, and ridiculously catchy misery-mantra chorus, it's the Origliassos in traditional, if engagingly neurotic, longing mode. The twins also stray from the choleric with the Cyndi Lauper-ish, love-as-nightmare "Someone Wake Me Up" and the weary self-contempt of "I Can't Stay Away."

But whatever the prevailing mood, Hook manages to extract the best elements of teen pop--guileless emoting and an absolute dedication to succinct song craft--while transcending the niche without stumbling into emo whining or indie-pop solipsism. Screw genre; by any measure, this is one heckuva great miffed pop record.

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