"No-wave," "art-rock," "post-punk," "post-wave," "garage-art." The quest to find a new, fresh label for New York City's ubiquitous underground sound has taken a toll on journalists. They're tired. They're sleep-deprived. They're taking hackneyed phrases and hyphenating them! The Big Apple is blessed with good musical genes, but the recent outpouring of bands full of stepbrothers and -sisters from the late '70s CBGB's family sent the media into a frenzy to describe this musical recidivism. People devoured every last word as the "rebirth of rock." The latest "it" band to stumble out of the scene is the Rogers Sisters. Their debut album, Purely Evil
, is danceable, raw, and fun but so not evil. Good old irony! Lead singer Jennifer Rogers, drummer Laura Rogers (yes, actual sisters), and bassist Miyuki Furtado make even better use of irony by tapping into the call-and-response vocals and kitsch of the B-52's on "The Black Anniversary," "Calculator," "Delayed Reaction," and, well, almost every other track. A look at their album cover boasts a collage of George W. and Martha Stewart, but they fall short of saying anything important or relevant about the current state of politics or the "evildoers" among us. "I Can Tell You How I Feel About You" delivers this stirring statement: "I can tell you how I feel about you, United States/every time I think about you/You're an open book."
The minimalist aesthetic and propensity for repetition may work for other bands of this ilk, but it reduces the Rogers Sisters' decent musicianship to needling irritation. Purely Evil is purely unoriginal, and the current hype around the group will no doubt be redirected into elevating the next "big thing." But unlike other New York darlings, the Rogers Sisters don't make seeming cool and detached their top priority. The girls (and boy) just wanna have fun, and if the album doesn't at least put you in dance mode, check your pulse.