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Subtropical Spin

Secret P.E. Club came to be shortly after a 2002 Street Miami collaborative article among Emma Trelles, Mindy Hertzon, and Andrea Vigil about Spy-Fi Records mogul Ed Artigas. The story goes that post-interview, Artigas was plagued with fantasies of an all-girl, power-pop, literary/artsy trio and approached the girls with intentions of being their "daddy." Vigil (drums), Trelles (bass), and Hertzon, a ten-year veteran guitarist of the Laundry Room Squelchers, jumped at the chance to rock, and the rest is history.

Taking their name from the abandoned gym they practiced in, SPEC carves their own alt-pop niche with a patient, stripped-down attitude that has endeared them to many audiences across South Florida. This debut, Hot Plastic, is a grand, 18-minute accomplishment. From the stop intro of bass plucks, drum detonation, and midtempo fuzz of "Revenge of the Book Girl" to the melody-laden tunedown of "The Goodbye Song," SPEC scores on simplicity and honesty. The title track is a rocksteady, surrealist narrative on relationships and abandoned drinks. It's followed by the ride-cymbal-heavy, one-two punch of "Moves in a Happy Way" and "Four Minutes Till Summer" before making a turn toward seedy Miami nightlife with "Porno (Airport Executive)," featuring a moaning call-and-response between the girls and "daddy" Artigas, à la Black Flag's "Slip It In." The 20-second, hardcore blast of "Fake Jake" is this slab's only example of female anger, and it's a welcome, hectic change of pace. I don't envy the ex-boyfriend, "fucker, fake Jake, red-headed woodpecker," who takes this sonic beating. Mark Zolezzi has since replaced Hertzon on drums, and Vigil has switched to guitar, but there's more zing than ever to the band's sound. Smart, sexy, and poetic (Trelles just did a brilliant job editing the third volume of Tigertail, A South Florida Poetry Annual), Secret P.E. Club fails in having given us only eight songs: These sultry larks owe us a lot more.


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