• Sincola
  • Sincola EP (Rise) 1994 
  • What the Nothinghead Said (Caroline) 1995 
  • Crash Landing in Teen Heaven (Caroline) 1996 

Sincola’s take on angular post-Pixies pop — all herky-jerk hooks and jagged cadences — is made special by virtue of a pervading scent of enigmatic gender-fuck. The ambisexual Austin fivesome tweaks the standard boy- meets-girl pop text by imbuing its fizzy tunes with a chaotic, amorphous nature that ping-pongs between sexual notions of hetero-, homo- and bi-. On the band’s eponymous debut EP, Wendell Stivers and Kris Patterson’s percolating guitars bounce and battle with the vigorous rhythmic kick of bassist Chepo Peña and skins-pounder Joan Weiss, but no matter how you slice it, the real star of the show is singer Rebecca Cannon. This self-described “kewpie doll bitch” whoops, snaps, hiccups and shouts as if possessed by some sort of wanton, green-eyed imp from slumber-party hell. Boasting five strong doses of deliriously off-balance bubblepunk, the EP makes a swell first sip of Sincola, with the bullet train sea chantey “Hey Artemis” and the signature tantrum that is “Bitch” the most blatant standouts.

As produced by Brian Beattie (late of Glass Eye), What the Nothinghead Said fine-tunes Sincola’s mercurial sound, giving it just the right shades of new wave gloss and punk-rock punch. Powered by the band’s perky crunch (with new drummer Terri Lord) and colored by Cannon’s ferocious Siouxsie snarl, the record is unerringly infectious. Roles reverse (“Girlfriend”), carnality becomes cryptic (“Hint of the Titty”) and catchy, blood-boiling dynamics abound. In addition to reworked versions of “Bitch” and “Hey Artemis,” the shoulda-been-hits just keep coming: the anthemic anathema of “Sedate Me,” the breakdown car song “Drive” and the amazing “Amazing,” which practically begs for an upraised lighter as it finishes the record off. Packed with great songs and a remarkably iconoclastic personality, the tantalizing What the Nothinghead Said provides a bitchin’ passport into the strange and scary world of Sincola.

[Michael Krugman]

See also: Stretford