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The Streetwalkin' Cheetahs

It's not the least bit surprising that the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs lifted their name from the first line of "Search and Destroy," one of Iggy Pop's most incendiary songs; the Cheetahs use the Stooges as one of their sonic reference points. But the number of other '70s stalwarts that surface in the Cheetahs' blazing, brilliant sophomore album, Waiting for the Death of My Generation, is nothing short of astounding.

Of course the Cheetahs can claim influences from four disparate decades of music and be right on the money with all of them. The band is as punk as the Stooges and the MC5 ("Right to Rock"), as metal as Motörhead ("Future Lost"), as new-wave as the Cars ("Automatic"), as brightly poppy as Cheap Trick ("Lookout"), and as hard-rock horny as Aerosmith ("In My Head"). The Cheetahs betray at least one sidelong influence with a blistering cover of the Saints' "Know Your Product," complete with Stones-ish horns and insistent hooks, followed by the full throttle Beatles-meets-Minor Threat thrash fest "Why You Gotta Come First."

Guitarists Frank Meyer and Art Jackson are encyclopedic riff historians who have successfully incorporated the hooks of their ancestors into their own top-volume execution. The Cheetahs ably combine the belligerence and animal power of Ace Frehley, James Williamson, and Wayne Kramer with the visceral fury of each successive generation of punk thrown in for needle-burying goodness. By the end of 40 heart-stopping minutes on Waiting for the Death of My Generation, it's clear that the Streetwalkin' Cheetahs are a shrieking rock 'n' roll time capsule, bursting with lore from the past and ready to alter the future.

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Brian Baker

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