The Lunachicks obviously skipped the how-to-be-a-sweet-young-lady symposium in finishing school (actually, singer Theo Kogan, bassist Squid and guitarist Gina Volpe met at New York’s High School of Performing Arts): they roar and swill in the punk-polluted cesspool of garbage rock with the wanton enthusiasm of characters disgorged from a bleary Robert Williams cartoon. As innocuously hard on the ears as they strive to be on the eyes, the quintet has a merry sense of lurid junk-culture fun, a good-natured feminist spirit and unfailing enthusiasm for exuding sonic grief from every pore.
Stepping into the ring with a four-song EP issued on two 7-inch singles in a gatefold sleeve and later repackaged on CD, the Lunachicks strut their overdrive guitar noise in such gorgon sloptunes as “Sugar Luv,” “Jan Brady” and “Makin’ It (With Other Species).” Guitar-wringers Sindi B. and Gina lead the zealous attack, and the rabid thrash isn’t half bad, but Theo’s vocals are much worse than that. Babysitters on Acid reuses those three songs, hurling nine more crudities (like “Octopussy,” “Pin Eye Woman 665,” the autobiographical “Born 2B Mild” and the title “tune”) into the fetid stew.
Binge and Purge, which contains sharply ironic songs about women’s self-image concerns, is the Lunachicks’ great leap forward. Besides an overall tightening of the band’s musical wig, Theo’s tempered singing is much more musical (that she’s low in the mix doesn’t hurt, either). Still delivered in overdrive, songs like “Apathetic,” the antagonistic pop-punk of “C.I.L.L.” and the rootsabilly statement of purpose “This Is Serious” are sturdy and catchy. “We’re not sweet, but we might be sour/Born in the days of flower power/Give us all your money and your credit cards too…too much of us is dangerous.”
With hard-hitting new drummer Chip in the lineup, the Lunachicks rev up an edgy punk-metal sound on Jerk of All Trades, using the rigid aggression to convey crudely scatological/sexual lyrics like “Fingerful,” the dyslexic “F.D.S. (Shit Finger Dick)” and “Buttplug.” Inoffensive songs of varying seriousness about pets, dolls, adolescent pranks and reproductive rights (“Fallopian Rhapsody”) give the album a conceptual variety thoroughly blunted by the stultifying sameness of the music, a relentless barrage that furiously digs itself down a boring hole. Only “Why Me” and the title track — a wry and wailing dissection of women’s roles that uses a guest trumpeter to paraphrase Rossini — display the inventive colors of Binge and Purge.