Morningwood – Morningwood

As you can probably infer from the band’s name, Morningwood are the latest metal-inspired party band to be as bad and potty-mouthed as they want to be. Their songs feature lyrics like “We would both lift up our shirts / Kissed him once, you kissed him twice” (“Ride the Lights”) and puns involving the word “come.” The quartet’s frontwoman, Chantal Claret, is spastically sexual with pure, gutsy attitude pumping through her veins. And while Morningwood is undoubtedly out to rock and shock, its shtick is predictable.

Nevertheless, its self-titled debut has its hard-rocking moments. “Nü Rock” kicks off the album with loud authority, charging guitars and crashing drums. Claret’s rowdy yelping adds edge to “Easy,” an old-school metal anthem reminiscent of AC/DC; “Body” is similarly thunderous and straightforward, with contrasting vocals that cement the band’s personal style. The band steps out of that established style on “Take Off Your Clothes,” a meandering, mostly spoken ode to (what else?) sex. The song is oddly fascinating and kind of fun, but it’s harsh on the ears.

“Nth Degree” is a sugary contrast to the dirtier songs and is catchy as hell. In fact, it’s so infectious that American Eagle is hilariously using the song’s chant of ”M-O-R-N-I-N-G-W-O-O-D” in a television commercial to sell its tank tops, jeans and other casual basics. This band absolutely loves to spell things out- it doesn’t end with “Nth Degree.” The “Everybody Rules” features a chant of ‘E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y.” If Morningwood wasn’t so darn crude, they could make fun and exciting musical videos teaching youngsters to spell.

Claret is a spunky and likeable frontwoman with range, her vocals effortlessly swinging from a sweet and gentle coo to a raucous howl on songs like “Jetsetter” and “Televisor.” But her persona is so out there that it pigeonholes the band and constricts Morningwood’s chance of expanding its audience. The “sexy” conversational banter between Claretand bassist Pedro Yanowitz on “New York Girls” and “Take Off Your Clothes” is more comical than stimulating, yet the deadpan delivery proves that yes, they are serious. Perhaps the players behind Morningwood just need to let their sense of humor shine through. 

Morningwood’s self-titled debut is certainly interesting, with commanding riffs and provocative vocals. However, it’s tough for a band to make a career out of female-fronted cock rock; similar bands (remember the Donnas?) have made a quick buck and disappeared into obscurity. The sub-genre is so overtly raunchy and desperate to shock that its bands are destined to be a short-lived novelty from the beginning. The music is great for parties or for making your prudish friends uncomfortable, but will we remember Morningwood the morning after?

(Capitol Records)

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