MEandJOANCOLLINS – Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

Me And Joan Collins - Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

MEandJOANCOLLINS - Love. Trust. Faith. Lust.

Like the finest glam rock of yore, the Cambridge, MA outfit MEandJOANCOLLINS specialize in a sweaty fusion of sexual perversion and hard rockin’ bombast. But unlike the genre’s forefathers (T. Rex, Roxy Music) this indie-minded foursome steers clear of any campy theatricality and fantastical preoccupations with grandeur. The grouop’s debut LP shows more grit than you might expect from a band that readily admits to the influence of David Bowie and Marc Bolan. Odder still is that much of it sounds radio ready, despite song titles like “(I Masturbate) A Little Too Much” and “Typical Asshole.”

MEandJOANCOLLINS was formed from the ashes of groups like the Collisions and Steel Poniez, led by Bo Barringer and Jen Grygiel, respectively. A double threat with both their voices and their axes, they’ve been calling themselves newlyweds ever since onstage nuptials were orchestrated during a gig last summer. Rounded out by a formidable rhythm section comprised of James Collins (bass) and Jason Marchionna (drums), Love. Trust. Faith. Lust. achieves an impressive balance of indie tenderness, garage rock cacophony, and punk rock attitude over the course of 45 minutes.

The album’s first half is where we find the band indulging in its seediest fare. On opener “Crime Of The Century,” fuzzed out bass guitar and four to the floor drumming set the tone as Barringer describes his muse: “6 feet tall / long legs / long arms.” With swooning falsetto vocals in the chorus and some old fashioned hand claps here and there, the song definitely has a confident swagger about it. Next up is “All The Cowards In Her Path,” a track that seduces the listener with its atmospheric use of guitar delay and reverb effects. Lines such as “She’s a bitch with a purpose / she’s a bitch in bed” hit just a bit harder with all of the instrumental pomp and circumstance of the previous track removed. As might be expected, “(I Masturbate) A Little Too Much” is a quirky and uncomfortable affair, but that’s probably because both Barringer and Grygiel, using their trademark dual vocal attack, sound so earnest as they sing about what continues to be a cultural taboo. “(Come Take Your Boyfriend) From Behind” is another memorable instance of bawdy indiscretion, with a jaunty groove led by more FX treated guitars and delicious vocal harmonies.

The instrumentation in these early tracks rarely strays from the traditional rock n’ roll drums/bass/guitar blueprint, but the band’s lyrical fetishes make for one guilty pleasure after another. It’s the album’s latter half however, where we see Barringer and company actually taking some liberties with their style and songwriting. “Typical Asshole” features a summery groove that would be right at home on modern rock radio. With a tastefully executed guitar solo and acoustic accompaniment, the only radical departure from this newfound breeziness is found in the bridge, where heavy chromaticism and dissonance abound. “Electricity” finds the band going into garage blues territory that would do Jack White proud. With some string arrangements and mournful guitar licks, this slowburner’s sexiness is completely unforced. It’s also one the album’s finest moments. Augmented by some organ harmonies and epic guitar riffs, “Auditorium” is a worthy follow up to such understated track, sounding ready to have its way with the nosebleed seats.

The message of MEandJOANCOLLINS isn’t just one of carnal pleasures or sleazy fantasies (though there is a fair share of them, to be sure). At its most basic, this record is all about the sheer fun of playing in a rock and roll band. And with their roots firmly planted in the glam and indie scenes, the unpretentious music of Love. Trust. Faith. Lust. might just be the remedy for the self-serious hipster who needs to lighten up a bit.