The Priscillas are an all-girl 4 piece band based in London who have already supported the likes of The Rezillos and The 5,6,7,8s. Their bassist, Kate, kindly sent me a demo CD of some of their songs. They're due to release their debut single soon and are working on an album.
The first thing you notice about their songs is how incredibly catchy and exuberant they are. It only takes a couple of minutes for songs like All My Friends Are Zombies to lodge in your brain so strongly that it would take a lobotomy to remove them. (And The Priscillas have a song about brain surgery too). They have a kind of pop-punk approach with garage band influences similar to The B-52s or maybe a tougher version of The Go-Gos. To be successful at those types of songs looks deceptively simple. But if you're too "pop" then your songs will sound bland and clichéd but if they're too "alternative", they'll sound messy and you'll alienate most people --- but when this music works it produces some of the best pop songs. The Priscillas seem to have found the perfect balance --- a marriage of The Ramones guitar-driven garage rock and Phil Spector's girl group harmonies.
Their lead singer, Jen has a strong voice that comes through without being overpowered by the strong and accomplished backing music or sounding harsh and strident. Their hard-edged garage rock sound is softened around the edges by Shangri-Las style backing vocals and handclaps to produce infectious numbers like Gonna Rip Your Photograph. I have heard good reports of their live performances which involve beehive wigs and capes and raucous music performed by the baddest girl group in town.
NOTE: Since writing this review, the band have had a couple of personnel changes and released their debut album.
Originally published in December 2004.